As the story develops six major characters emerge, they are children. Each has an adult, a parent or carer, who play significant roles in their lives and skills.

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Elin and Mo

We first meet Kirsten Gunnarsdottir, Elin’s mother, who is an Icelandic geologist. Elin has helped her mother with her research all her young life and shares her steely determination.

Mo’s father Alim is a Bangladeshi palaeontologist and a bit of a character. Mo has lived in London since a baby and communicates with his dad on his travels by shortwave radio. He loves to work with his dad.

 

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Buzz and enza

Ford Harris is the scientist handed the poison chalice of planning the mission to Mars. He regularly picks up his grandson Buzz in his vintage plane from his home in Batton Rouge USA. Ford often lets Buzz fly it. Buzz is convinced he’s a better pilot than Ford, at least on their video game battles. Buzz is a natural mathematician.

Enza helps her mum and dad (Elizabetta and Giulio) run their restaurant on the slopes of Vesuvius, she is also a great artist and recorder of her mothers archaeological work in the ruins of Pompeii.

 

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Bheki and Xing

Bheki lives in an orphanage in Zimbabwe, he and his brother Zulu have made their names as bush engineers and growing crops for the orphanage.

Xing comes with her mother Su-lin with the Chinese contingent competing for places on the mission. Her mother is an astronaut and flying doctor and has shared much of her knowledge to her daughter.

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Skills required

for mission crew

Pilot - Co-pilot

Engineer - Programmer

Navigation - Geologist

Recorder - Palaeontologist

Medic - Biologist

Welfare - Dietician