By Betty Yu

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – A Bay Area woman is a step closer to winning a trip to the red planet. The catch is that it’s only one-way.

Kenya Armbrister of Oakland is one of 100 finalists who could leave Earth forever in 2024.

When asked about her first reaction after finding out she was a finalist, Armbrister told KPIX 5, “I cried, I was super excited. It was just overwhelming.”

They have been chosen from 200,000 applicants around the world to be a part of the Mars One project. The non-profit is planning to send humans to Mars, using today’s technologies.

“Why not leave earth? There’s so much more to explore and see within our own solar system,” Armbrister said.

The 36-year-old works in research and development at a pharmaceutical company in San Francisco, but has always been fascinated with outer space. She has been preparing to be a Martian for months.

“I mean we’re basically creating a new society on another world from scratch,” Armbrister said.

The finalist still has to pass group challenges and training later this year to make the final 24.

Some have called the one-way trip to the red planet suicidal. Armbrister responded, “It’s suicidal getting on the Bay Bridge every morning, you know? They’re some crazy drivers in the Bay Area.”

Armbrister said the risk is worth it, though it would be hard to say goodbye to friends and family.

“To leave that all behind to go to another planet to open more doors for human beings, that’s a lot to sacrifice. But I’m willing to do that because I truly believe in this project,” she said.

A tech worker in San Mateo County is also in the running for the big trip.