When Cassandra Morphy travels to work from her home in Jersey City to her office in Keasby, it's a 23-mile, 30-minute commute -- but if she gets her dream job, her commute from work to her new home will take her 225 million miles and eight months to complete.
Morphy, a data analyst, is one of 100 finalists out of 200,000 applicants in the running for a trip to colonize Mars, sponsored by Dutch non-profit group Mars One.
"I think I first wanted to go to Mars when I read 'Red Mars' when I was like 14 or so," she said. "It sounds like the most amazing place to go."
Mars One plans to send 24 astronauts to Mars starting in the year 2025. In extremely harsh conditions, the astronauts would build a permanent settlement.
The big drawback: it's a one-way ticket to Mars, and there's no way to ever leave.
Morphy said she's not scared by the idea of going to Mars forever, and in fact it's part of the reason she signed up.
"That's kind of the whole point, getting there and colonizing the planet," she said.
"My head's always been in the clouds, so the next step is to go into the space," she added.
After conducting interviews and physicals, Mars One has whittled down the group of finalists to 100. Long Island resident Nick Buccheri was one of the thousands disappointed to learn he didn't make the cut.
"I've had nothing but Mars on my mind for an entire year, so it's a big disappointment," he said.
Mars One still hasn't even started unmanned missions to Mars yet, and many are skeptical they'll ever get off the ground. But Morphy is optimistic and is ready to start her training, hoping she'll make the final cut and the chance to make history.
"I'm excited, hopeful. I'm really looking forward to going forward with this," she said.