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In Elon Musk s Mars reality show , the grand

Scenario: In Elon Musk's Mars reality show, the grand prize is revealed to be a one-way trip to Mars with no return ticket, leading to a panic among the finalists and a surge in viewer ratings.
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In Elon Musk's Mars reality show, the grand prize is revealed to be a one-way trip to Mars with no return ticket, leading to a panic among the finalists and a surge in viewer ratings.
I’d always loved space, even as a little kid.
When I was nine, I told my mom that I wanted to be the first person to walk on Mars.
She laughed and said it was a crazy dream, but that’s the thing about dreams: they’re supposed to be crazy.
That night in the bar, Mars called to me in a way I couldn’t explain.
I was so lost in the beauty of the planet that I barely even noticed when the fight spilled outside.
We all ended up in jail that night, and by the time my friends bailed me out, I’d convinced myself that I’d imagined it all.
I’d had way too much to drink, and I’d hallucinated the whole thing.
But even after I sobered up, the image of Mars lingered in my mind.
It was like it’d seared itself into my brain and refused to let go.
It became a part of me, somehow, and it followed me everywhere I went.
When I started studying astrophysics in college, Mars was there, looming over my shoulder as I poured over textbooks and star charts.
When I met the other finalists for the first time on the set of Starfall, there it was again, hanging in the sky above the mansion we stayed in.
It’s always been there, just out of reach but close enough to touch.
I don’t know why Mars called to me that night, or why it’s haunted my dreams for all these years.
I only know one thing for certain: whatever happens tonight, I have to get to Mars.
The first time I saw Mars, I was in the middle of a bar fight.
I was twenty-one years old, and it was the last night of finals.
My friends and I had gone out to celebrate at a dive bar on the edge of campus.
It wasn’t a great place—it smelled like stale beer and cigarettes and desperation—and it didn’t take long for someone to spill a drink on someone else.
Before we knew it, everyone was throwing punches and kicking and screaming, and I was right there in the thick of things.
I wasn’t scared.
I grew up with three older brothers, so I knew how to take care of myself.
But when a guy came at me from behind and lifted me off my feet, I was a little freaked out.
He grabbed me around the waist and squeezed so hard it hurt, and the next thing I knew, he was tossing me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
I did what any sane person would do: I elbowed him in the face.
He dropped me like a hot potato, and I turned around, ready for round two.
That’s when I saw it: Mars, hanging low in the sky.
It was so big and bright that I could see it even through the glare of the streetlights, and for a second, I thought it was the moon.
But the moon was bright and white and high in the sky, while Mars was big and red and impossibly close.
It was so close that it felt like you could reach out and touch it, like you could pluck it from the sky with your bare hands.
I’d never seen anything so beautiful in my life.
In Elon Musk s Mars reality show , the grand
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