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Saying goodbye to a beautiful bastard


By Niels Fez Pedersen

Obituary notice: We are saying goodbye to a dear friend. Sunday has passed away at the age of 44. With it, rituals disappear and maybe even the chance of a teary eye brought on by emotional music and strained nerves.

I learned many things at my first Roskilde Festival. For instance, that it is unpractical to puke when you are also squashed at the very front of Orange Stage (then called Canopy) to see the Danish band Sneakers.

That was also the year I realised that Roskilde is about more than random happenings; and that you do not have to be nervous about entering a tent with a man playing the harp.

That was Sunday afternoon in 1983. I was tired and sat in the grass inside the tent called Rytmescenen and chilled out with a couple of guys from my high school. We were done for, as you can only be on Saturday at Roskilde Festival. Even if our festival only lasted for three days then.

We sat there trying to pick up ourselves when a Swiss man with a head full of curls began to play the harp. I do not want to say that I had an epiphany, but something happened to my mood.

The man with the harp is called Andreas Vollenweider, and had it not been Sunday at Roskilde, I would have run away screaming. I am allergic to new age music, but at that exact moment (Sunday July 3rd, 1983 at 3pm) the sound of the electronically amplified egg slicer made completely sense.

That was what Sunday at Roskilde Festival did to you. Now Sunday is gone and thus ends the festival not with a day of rest but with Saturday bang.

In practice, I will not miss Sunday’s eternal deliberations of home transport and the transition to normal society, but I will mourn it if the fade-out disappears and the meeting with reality becomes a kick in the butt instead of a gentle nudge.

I have loved slowing down to Stevie Wonder, Kraftwerk, Prince and the other legends who have had a wonderful function on Sunday snight. While others have taken Sunday to the max with dance parties at Arena, I have sailed home with calm spirits. ‘Closure’ as it is called when you find peace after an intense experience. Sunday closed down the festival that way.

But the day has always been a bastard marked by endings, backpacks, camping chairs and air beds. It (and the festivalgoers) have been unfocused. For some people Sunday has been about sucking out the last energy. Fans of hard rock have met around the ‘Sunday death’ – one or more bands of the hardest kind that can set fire to the hair on Sunday at noon.

I will miss the metal people’s Sunday ritual as I will miss the sight of clean pensioners on Sunday excursion to rock land. The tradition of free tickets to the elderly citizens began as image care toward the inhabitants of Roskilde. Everyone over the age of 50 could get a free ticket. As the rock grew older the age limit rose and now the Sunday séance disappears completely.

Thus the grey free-riders join the biker brawls and other incidents that were once a steady part of the Sunday. Gone are the speeches as well.

Earlier social conscious writers such as the Danish writer Ebbe Kløvedal Reich used the Canopy stage as the world’s biggest soapbox. The Sunday speeches with greetings from activists, politicians and Indians were a part of Roskilde Festival’s core values. The tradition died out, but was revived in 2009 for a short while when the Nobel Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus from Bangladesh gave a speech about poverty and micro loans.

After that, Coldplay played a typical Sunday concert where the festival came together, and over-sentimental ballads moved tired nerves. I remember how people around me cried and hugged each other and had a real Andreas Vollenweider moment while the music underlined that it was near the end.

This year you can say your goodbyes on an ‘empty’ Sunday. It will be all right even if it will not have a harp soundtrack.

Niels Fez Pedersen is a freelance culture journalist and have been to Roskilde Festival every year since 1983.

They have played Roskilde on Sunday.

Selected by Michael Rachlin.

1972: Sha Na Na (US)
1973: Fairport Convention (UK)
1974: Gasolin’ (DK)
1975: Ravi Shankar (IND)
1976: Dr. Hook (US)
1977: The Chieftains (IE)
1978: Elvis Costello and the Attractions (UK)
1979: Rock mod Arbejdsløshed (DK)
1980: Shit & Chanel (DK)
1981: Bad Manners (UK)
1982: Sneakers (DK)
1983: Kliché (DK)
1984: New Order (UK)
1985: Ramones (US)
1986: Metallica (US)
1987: Van Morrison (IE)
1988: Toto (US)
1989: The Sandmen (DK)
1990: Little Feat (US)
1991: Paul Simon (US)
1992: Crowded House (AUS)
1993: Chris Isaak (US)
1994: ZZ Top (US)
1995: Slash’s Snakepit (US)
1996: David Bowie (UK)
1997: Beck (US)
1998: Iggy Pop (US)
1999: Blur (UK)
2000: Lou Reed (US)
2001: The Cure (UK)
2002: The White Stripes (US)
2003: Massive Attack (UK)
2004: Santana (US)
2005: Brian Wilson (US)
2006: Roger Waters – Dark side of the moon. (UK)
2007: Arctic Monkeys (UK)
2008: Slayer (US)
2009: Coldplay (UK)
2010: Prince (US)
2011: Kings of Leon (US)
2012: Björk (IS)
2013: Kraftwerk (DE)
2014: Stevie Wonder (US)

Time to say goodbye


By Parastou Booyash

Whether you want to or not, you have to go home. Here is some good advice at how to say goodbye to Roskilde Festival in style.

Donate your camping gear

Again this year, you can donate everything from your tent, batteries and glass to your unopened tinned mackerel. Recipients of the donations are among others boat refugees in Greece and 24 other NGOs. The donated pavilions will be melted and made into everything from washing up brushes to swimming pool canopies. Graffiti is no problem because only the canvas will be used. Syrian refugees help pack and send everything to the NGOs. You can donate your gear at the Recycling Stations carrying the sign: ReAct.

Getting home

When it is time to say goodbye to your friends and to Roskilde, it is nice knowing how to get home. Trains and busses are going to Roskilde Station and to Copenhagen Central Station.

Trains: From 8:07 a.m. to 7.07 p.m. trains are running every half hour to Roskilde Station. At night, the train only runs once an hour from West to Copenhagen Central Station. Please, check journeyplanner.dk for exact times. (the station is called Roskilde Festival St.). A ticket is 80 DKK. Remember cash.

Bus: busses are running every 15 minutes to Roskilde Station all day and night. After midnight, busses go all the way to Copenhagen Central Station on the whole and half hour. A ticket for Copenhagen is 80 DKK. Remember cash.

Car: Earlier, traffic to and from the camping area has been highly concentrated around Sunday afternoon. However this year, where the music ends on Saturday, it is uncertain when the big move will take place. The only recommendation the festival will make is to leave in plenty of time, and to use car-pooling when possible. Check out the Go More-app for car-pooling opportunities.

Photo: Magnus Fisker
Fotograf: Magnus Fisker

Clean up after yourself

Every single cigarette butt thrown on the ground has to be picked up manually by volunteers who spend about 17,400 working hours on picking up trash after the festival. Last year, 1,800 tonnes of trash were collected.
So please give us a hand and clean up after yourself – that’s the cool thing to do.

Give someone a hug

It has been yet another fantastic Roskilde Festival, and you have contributed to the great Orange Feeling and festival spirit. We could all use some of that same spirit outside of Roskilde Festival. So remember to give someone a hug, kiss your neighbour and to take home that feeling of community.

Woman in glasshouse sees your soul


By Kathrine Læsøe Engberg

A woman has been living in a glasshouse in Dream City for three days, to get closer to the festivalgoers. The wordless encounter through the Plexiglas creates a special connection.

“I have just had a really nice encounter with a girl. We looked into each others’ eyes for a while and then she began to cry,” explains the performance artist Nanna Francisca Schottländer. For three days, she has been living in a glasshouse in Dream City, where passers-by have been watching her around the clock.

“The encounter is more honest and vulnerable when there are no words, and when we are physically separated by the glass. Only the eyes are left, and that creates a special connection,” says Nanna Francisca Schottländer. She imagines the window as her armour, which now is made transparent.

Please be here now

The living exhibition, with herself as object, is called ‘Please be here now – Dwelling no. 2: Encounters’, which is a direct invitation to the spectators.

“Here, people are kind of in a state of emergency, they are curious and open. I want to further that vulnerable encounter and make people think about why our barriers are up when meeting one another in our everyday lives.”

She sees your soul

The installation stirs up strong feelings. “When she looks at you it is like she can see into your soul, no shit,” says a still drunk guy who is looking at Nanna Francicsa Shottländer through the glass.

“This is the craziest thing I have experienced so far,“ says Asta, 18, who is with her friend Sarah. Originally, they were on their way to buy an ice cream, but the woman in the glasshouse made them stop.

“I’m affected by it and it peaks my curiosity. She is sitting there completely exposed and alone and is outside of the community, but is somehow also a part of it. It makes me feel alone when I look at her. It is completely quiet inside her room, but out here, it is chaos. It is really beautiful.”

In the small glasshouse of about 9m2 the air is heavy and the temperature is high as in a greenhouse. The contents of her suitcase are scattered on the floor Toothpaste, mirror, brush, razor, white panties – everything that is normally private is on display. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen
In the small glasshouse of about 9m2 the air is heavy and the temperature is high as in a greenhouse. The contents of her suitcase is scattered on the floor: Toothpaste, mirror, brush, razor, white panties – everything that is normally private is on display. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen

“Some areas at Roskilde look like Mogadishu”


By Anna Hjortdal

They have escaped war and threats, are currently living in a Danish asylum centre and volunteer at Roskilde Festival. But even though the camping areas invite to anarchy and primitive conditions Dream City in Roskilde is worlds apart from the real world refugee camps.

Mogadishu, Dresden after the Second World War, war zone and refugee camp. There is no shortage of dramatic comparisons when festivalgoers have to describe the conditions they are living under at the festival’s camping areas.

But the comparison is wrong, says Ameen, who is a Somali refugee who has experience with several refugee camps.

“Some areas in Mogadishu looks like Roskilde Festival. In several places, peoples’ houses have been destroyed and they live in tents just like here. But here, people have grown up in the system, so even if they are living under primitive conditions they still behave. In actual refugee camps people come from many different cultures and even if there were a system they would not follow it.”

Ameen’s own story is that he has lived in a refugee camp in Yemen and in Turkey and have since travelled through Greece, Serbia and Italy. He is now waiting to have his application for asylum in Denmark processed.

Ameen is at the festival working for CampAid with seven other refugees from Roskilde asylum centre. CampAid is an organisation that collects tents, sleeping bags and sleeping mats left behind and then donates them to refugees. He and two other refugees are putting up a big, green pavilion on a slope by Dream City. The other two go out to collect used sleeping bags and abandoned tents in the area.

There is of course also the considerable difference between Roskilde and a real refugee camp that people are at Roskilde Festival of their own free will. Because it makes them happy, says Ameen. That is also in contradiction to refugee camps and war zones.

“When you are fleeing your homeland it is because you are searching for something better, and if you end up somewhere that looks like this…”Ameen makes a sweeping suggestion with his arms, pointing to a mountain of wobbly tents,”…then you are hit by the hopelessness of it all. In Yemen, for instance, it is impossible to get papers, work – nothing. Only a place to stay and a place to sleep!

After a couple of hours, the refugees have still not received any donations of tents or clothing. However, their orange ‘Festival Service’ vests result in many questions and Ameen knows enough about the festival to work in the festival’s information office. For example, one guy wants to know where Kygo is playing. Another got washing-up liquid in the eye. “We are CampAid, not First Aid,” says Ameen and points the unlucky dishwasher in the direction of the real First Aid tents.

One in four is indifferent to non-profit status


By Mathias Nielsen

Roskilde Festival stands out from other large Danish festivals by donating the entire proceeds to charitable causes. But in a survey, slightly more than one in four festivalgoers is indifferent.

When you pressed ‘purchase’, did you consider the fact that a dash of the 1965 DKK you paid for your ticket will go to charity? For one in four festivalgoers, this makes no difference. That is the result of a non-representative survey that 339 festivalgoers have completed.

This is despite the fact that Roskilde Festival donated 26 million DKK to worthy causes last year and has used the words ‘Non Profit Since 1972’ as a central part of its branding, on everything from posters to festival wristbands.

“I know that the festival gives a portion to charity, but it isn’t something that means a lot to me. At least, that’s not why I come here,” says Astrid, who we spoke to on Tuesday as she was packing her sleeping bag and canned mackerel.

“For me, it’s more about having fun and listening to music,” she says.

The participants in the survey were asked to place themselves on a scale from one to six, based on how important they consider Roskilde Festival’s charitable work. 27 per cent placed themselves on one or two, 42 per cent on three or four, and the remaining 31 per cent on five or six.

That tolerance and openness to others that you find on the festival, it stems from the whole non-profit idea. I don’t believe people think that those values are unimportant

The festival’s cornerstone

It irks Christina Bilde, spokeswoman for Roskilde Festival, that so many of the festivalgoers are indifferent to the festival’s non-profit character. Nevertheless, she believes that the charitable work is part of the consciousness of the festivalgoers, and a reason for why they return.

“That tolerance and openness to others that you find on the festival, it stems from the whole non-profit idea. I don’t believe people think that those values are unimportant,” she says.

Charity and Roskilde Festival
Every year, Roskilde Festival donates its entire proceeds to charitable purposes.

Last year’s festival gave a record-breaking 26.7 million DKK profit. Great weather, sell-out, and a cheap clean-up made the 2014 festival a more profitable business than ever before.

Roskilde Festival has donated about 196 million DKK to charity since 1971.

This year’s profits will go to the organisation Headspace and the Danish Refugee Council’s youth division, amongst others.

Reflects society

The attitude towards Roskilde Festival’s non-profit concept mirrors the world outside the Inner Festival Area, according to Per Østergaard Jacobsen, external lecturer at the Copenhagen Business School. He has researched Danish attitudes to charity, and is currently collecting and analysing data from this year’s festival.

“About 29 per cent of the population does not support charity, so the numbers match. It could of course be the case that people answer more politically correct than what they really believe, but I would judge this to be fairly accurate,” he says.


Africa’s next musical kings at Pavilion


By Parastou Booyash

The Kenyan president quotes their songs in his speeches, they sing about politics, and urge people to work democratically if they are dissatisfied. They have been playing together for ten years, but the mean age of the band members is only 20 years. And they describe themselves as kings. There are definite signs that Sarabi is a band we will hear more from.

“We come from a humble country, but to be completely honest: we are kings in Kenya,” says Mandela from the band Sarabi.

“Everyone listens to us. Rich or poor, young or old, diplomats or street sweepers. But thankfully we don’t feel superior to others,” he explains.

The eight band members are relaxing in the Roskilde sun. They are too familiar with the stage to feel any butterflies, but they are excited to play at Roskilde. They gave an unplanned performance in the HT bus on the way from Roskilde Station, and they also do so after the interview – in that drumming-straight-on-the-table fashion.

Everyone listens to us. Rich or poor, young or old, diplomats or street sweepers

But if you delve into their lyrics and how they view the world, you note that they sing about serious issues. About the difference between the rich and the poor, but also about how individuals are forced to stand up for themselves.

Because it may be that something is wrong with you.

“We also sing about ourselves, and we inspire a lot of people through that. But we have to be like lions to inspire people. There is no use in whispering if you shout and sing,” says Bella, who is the only female member of the band.

“Yes, we only document the times we live in. And our music is our weapon,” adds Adam.

An experience that goes beyond the stage

Roskilde Festival’s world music booker, Peter Hvalkof, was the one who fell in love with Sarabi at first sight at a concert in Africa.

“I strongly urge festivalgoers to take part in a musical experience delivered by Sarabi – a band that might very well be the stars of tomorrow. They are massive talents, and being at a Sarabi concert is a great experience, due to their drive and energy which reaches across the stage,” explains Peter Hvalkof.

The world’s greatest compliment

Sarabi gets the vibrant energy Peter Hvalkof is talking about from their surroundings and from their love of life.

But it is most of all about the power of music and the broad appeal of their musical messages. Mandela becomes serious when answering how they impact their audiences, and which is the greatest compliment the band has ever received.

“We once met a very poor man on the street. He told us that he did everything to teach his children about Sarabi, because we do so much good for society. He even gave us all the money he had that day, because he believed so strongly in our music and wanted to make a contribution. So we had to accept his donation to avoid insulting him.”

Living forever

All the Sarabi members have something to say when asked about their message, and they occasionally become so eager they talk over each other. But they all agree on what they want and where they are headed. So Mandela articulates it.

“The compliment from the poor man meant a lot, and it reinforces what we believe: that we only live once, but if we do something good for society, we live forever.”

About Sarabi

Can be seen Thursday at 12 noon in Pavilion.

Sarabi plays African pop and rock music, and some have compared them to Manu Chao.

They are from Nairobi in Kenya and sing in Swahili.

An international documentary about Sarabi is on its way. It is titled ‘Music Is Our Weapon’ and will be released in August.

Mischief-makers from Christiania Freetown made fools of the police


A full year’s honour was at stake when Christiania’s football team met Roskilde Police for a ruthless and sweaty game in the sand by Street City.

It took 12 seconds. Then the first policeman was forced to bite the dust after a hard tackling courtesy of a Christianite. The game was tough, with both shoving and direct body contact on the menu. There was nothing wrong with the mood, however. Not even among Anders and the rest of the police squad, who were beaten 2-7 by a technically superior Christiania crew.

‘It was damn hard, but a lot of fun. It’s cool to try being a policeman in a different way than usual’, he said after the match.

Shoves, hugs and backslapping

However, it took until half-time for the Christianites to really get going. A throw-in struck the head of one of the red-and-yellow-striped, and from there onwards the game was cruise control for Christiania Freetown’s football flagship.

After the game, there was backslapping and hugs across the teams, but also limping and bleeding shins and ankles.

‘This is the most intense game I’ve ever played’, said the Christianite Noa after the match, clutching an ice pack to his leg.

‘A real men’s match, I have to say!’

by Mathias Nielsen

Good intentions do not reach festivalgoers


Roskilde Festival is focusing heavily on the new Rising area, which is meant to make people meet and share opinions. But a poll among the festivalgoers reveals that four out of five have never heard about the work to change attitudes.

Have you visited one of the two Dream Catchers in the new Rising area? Or did you stop by the area for an activism talk on Sunday?

Then you are something of an exception. In a non-representative survey, only four per cent of this year’s festivalgoers replied that they have heard about and participated in Roskilde Festival’s attitudinal work. 80 per cent have never heard about it.

We sense that people want attitudes

Christina Bilde, spokeswoman for Roskilde Festival, says that low awareness level goes back to the festival itself. But, she believes, it is not because people cannot be bothered with a festival that can create and shape opinions and debates.

‘Based on the responses we get, we notice that festivalgoers would like a festival which has an opinion and can generate debates and discussions. Of course, many come for other reasons. But we would love to surprise, thrill and challenge those people’, she says.

‘Moreover, I think there are some people who aren’t aware that they are familiar with our attitudinal work’, she adds.

This year’s theme is ‘meaningful youth’

The focus of the year is ‘a meaningful youth’. There will be debates, exchanges of opinions, and discussions, based on a wide and varied programme.

This year, Roskilde Festival has created the Rising area, where there are workshops, debates and brand new music. There are also activities all around the festival area. The hope is that this will increase the awareness level.

‘We hope to create more recognition by spreading the activities over a wider area’, says Christina Bilde.



Cecilie Bjerregård, 23:

‘I usually hear about the festival’s campaigns, but I actually haven’t heard anything this year. I’ve been down to Rising and checked out some of the music, but I haven’t heard any debates.’


Kasper Dall, 21:

‘I haven’t heard about the attitudinal work at all. I’ve walked past Rising a couple of times, but I haven’t really checked it out.’

By: Mathias Nielsen
Illustration: Simon Dilling Hansen

Rasmus takes out the trash for you


By Anine Fuglesang

Rasmus Møller Nielsen would like to use his festival as a volunteer garbage man. This is why he has spent time and money developing an app.

Wearing a cowboy hat, and clutching a beer instead of a rifle, 26-year-old Rasmus Møller Nielsen saddles up – not on his Jolly Jumper, but on the Christiania bike he brought along. Ready for a mission. Waste is about to be retrieved. He leaves camp Trashville in Dream City together with his friends Emil Bust and Anders Friis. They have been tipped off about four stuffed garbage bags waiting for them a short distance away.

The tip actually came from them. The camp in question agreed to place the garbage bags in a strategic spot, in honour of the photographer.

Rasmus Møller Nielsen is still waiting for this year’s festivalgoers to discover the app Trashville, which he has developed during the last month. It has been downloaded 30 times so far, but Rasmus Møller Nielsen is hoping for many more.

“We would like to get out and work, so people should download the app and write to us. When they have gathered their trash in red plastic bags, we come and get it, and it’s extra nice if they’re waiting with a warm beer,” says Rasmus Møller Nielsen.

Meeting through garbage

Camp Trashville has focused on waste and recycling since Dream City was created in 2013, and that made Rasmus Møller Nielsen develop the concept further. He began developing the Trashville app a month before the festival started, together with a Greek man he got in touch with via Facebook.

“At first, he wanted 167 DKK per hour, but when I told him it was for Roskilde Festival, he went down to 100 and loved the idea. So I told him what it should look like, while he coded the app,” says Rasmus Møller Nielsen and explains that the app has two goals:

“It would be awesome if we all took a little more responsibility, and we can start with the waste. It is also a great opportunity to get out and meet some others. You don’t get out as much when you live in Dream City, because your own camp is so nice, and I miss it a little.”

Reprimand to Roskilde

Camp Trashville proves that waste can be fun. 47 campers are enjoying themselves in the saloon built by recycled materials and decorated with lamps made of tin cans.

“We’re cowboys, and our waste is our gold. We love the spirit surrounding waste recycling. Our entire camp, and now this app, is a call for Roskilde Festival to do something more about waste collection. It’s moving too slowly. I hope they read this and realise what a good idea the app is. I think they can save a lot of money in the end if they make people collect their own trash. But they should also feel free to hire me. That’s not a problem,” says Rasmus Møller Nielsen grinning.

He is back in the saloon with the other cowboys. Ready to collect some trash.

How to do it
Do you have waste you want to get rid of, and do you live in East? Download the Trashville app. Send a request via the app, and Rasmus will come and pick up the waste you have gathered in red plastic bags. But in order for him to find you, you need to write where you are and what your camp’s name is in the app’s email function, as the coordinates are a little off-course here at Dyrskuepladsen. If you have a warm beer ready, you make Rasmus extra happy.

The man who wants to leave Earth for Mars


By Parastou Booyash

Today, he is living amongst you and more than 50,000 others at Roskilde Festival. But soon, he could be living on Mars, as part of a groundbreaking mission. “When the sun expands and engulfs the Earth, we will need a new place to be. Some scientists believe that we are living on borrowed time,” says Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen.

Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen looks out over the camping area, where people have formed a colony not unlike the one he may be part of forming on Mars – in a less populous but more permanent version.

I will be forced to live with the consequences of my choices, including the choice never to return to Earth again

There he is, among more than 50,000 people at Roskilde Festival. But in 10 years he may be on Mars with only three other people. While he looks across the temporary Roskilde colony, he admits that his decision is a kind of sacrifice for humanity. But it is worth the risk.

“If everything goes as it should, I will have a long and meaningful life on Mars”, says 35-year-old Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen.

“At the same time, I contribute to science, and prove that it is possible to accomplish what you set out to do. Thus I give young people something other than reality stars to look up to. I get as much back as I give up”, he explains.

Humans on Mars

For the last four years, Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen has been part of the team at Roskilde that ensures that the credit card terminals in the stands have access to internet. But this year may be the last time.

He is one of 100 candidates, of whom four will have the pleasure of colonising Mars in 2027. And he is well underway with the preparations.

Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen has a window box on his balcony at home, with soil from a Hawaiian volcano. Volcanic soil is what is most comparable to soil on Mars. He has planted tomatoes, cucumbers, kale and frisée, which are some of the things they will grow and live of on Mars. But what it is that makes him give up life on Earth?

He is a determined, curious, brave and visionary man who wants to be sent to Mars to ensure that humanity has a place to escape if everything goes wrong on Earth.

And, according to him, there is a high probability that we will need to live on Mars.

“We must think further than our own lifespan, for when the sun expands and swallows the Earth we will need a new place to be. Some scientists believe we are living on borrowed time, and the Mars mission is part of our human development,” he says.

Never back to Earth

If Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen ends up living on Mars, he will only get a new set of people every second year, when four new people will arrive at the planet. And he can never return to Earth, because the mission would be too expensive.

That suits him just fine.

Being at the festival can drain him of energy, because there are so many people. He is not the most extroverted guy, and has enough with seeing his parents, siblings and good friends once a month, or maybe every couple of months.

That will not be very different from Mars, from which he would have contact with Earth. However, it would be exclusively over internet, and with up to 26 minutes delay.

“I give up the close physical contact with people, so I will miss the immediate closeness to others. My freedom will also be restricted; I can’t just go for a walk or something else common on Earth. But we will be trained in being isolated before the launch, so we will be mentally prepared,” Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen explains.

Sacrifices himself for the rest of us

Trying to get to Mars is not harmless business, but Christian Ohlendorff Knudsen rationalises the fear that sometimes shows up, and has discovered that the fear comes because he is scared of dying.

“But I’m willing to risk my life for science and for the good of humanity,” he says.

He can undo his decision as late as when he is sitting in the spaceship. But as soon as he is in space, there is no way back.

“I will be forced to live with the consequences of my choices, including the choice never to return to Earth again. That thought normally paralyses people, but of course, you also live with the consequences of your choices here on Earth,” he explains.