Saturday 18 November 2017

Irish scientist among the final 100 for mission to Mars

Dr Joseph Roche
Dr Joseph Roche
Dr Joseph Roche talks about possible life on Mars on The Saturday Night Show

David Kearns

Irish scientist Joseph Roche has made the shortlist to become the first humans to travel to Mars.

The Trinity College based astrophysicist is among the 100 people named in the third round of selection for the one-way trip.

“The idea (that it's a one-way trip) doesn't weigh on me at all… it's a wonderful thing,” he said.

“Although we have to face that fact that I could be eliminated, or reach an obstacle (during the medical training or screening) that I can't overcome.

“One thing they've promised on Mars is Internet and WhatsApp. WhatsApp is how I keep in touch with family and friends on earth, so I'm happy with that.”

There were more than 200,000 applicants to the scheme, which aims to send 24 people to establish a colony on Mars.

The 55 million kilometre journey to the red planet is being backed by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, who intends to send a series of robotic missions to Mars over the coming years, to prepare an infrastructure for the arrival of humans.

The project, dubbed “Mars One”, aims to create a permanent human settlement on the red planet, with crews of four departing every two years beginning in just under ten years.

The missions will be funded privately through crowdfunding and the creation of a reality TV show around the project

It is estimated the total cost of the missions will be around €5 billion.

In a statement on Monday, Mars One said the next selection stage will focus on composing teams that can endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement on Mars.

It said the candidates will receive their first shot at training in the copy of the Mars Outpost on Earth and will demonstrate their suitability to perform well in a team.

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