Scientists shortlisted to start human colony on Mars

Darlington and Stockton Times: MARTIAN MISSION: Astrophysicist Gillian Finnerty. MARTIAN MISSION: Astrophysicist Gillian Finnerty.

THREE scientists shortlisted for a one-way mission to Mars say they would accept never seeing their friends and family face-to-face again if they were given the chance of finding extra-terrestrial life.

Dr Keith Evans, of Norton, near Stockton, Durham University doctorate student Hannah Earnshaw and astrophysicist Gillian Finnerty, of Tholthorpe, North Yorkshire are among 36 Britons hoping to help establish a human colony on the red planet from 2025.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

SUPPORTIVE FAMILY: Dr Keith Evans

Mars One, a privately-funded project set up in Holland, saw more than 202,000 people from around the world apply to be part of the mission.

The project’s leaders have announced a shortlist of 1,058 people, which will be whittled down to 24 Martian explorers, who will travel 34 million miles to the planet in crews of four.

Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp said: “We’re extremely appreciative and impressed with the sheer number of people who submitted their applications.

“In 1,000 years, everyone on Earth will still remember who the first humans on Mars were.”

He said an unmanned demonstration mission, communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions will be sent to Mars from 2018 to establish a reliable living environment.

In an extensive training period, those selected to live on the colony will learn the skills they need on Mars and on their journey there.

Miss Finnerty, 21,who alongside the other candidates is set to undergo medical examinations and be interviewed in the coming weeks, said while her parents were “not thrilled” about her ambition, it would be similar to emigrating to Australia.

The British elite snowboarder said: “I want to do something important with my life to help with scientific knowledge and this is the most important thing anyone could do.

“I would hopefully be able to find out definitively if there ever has been life on Mars.”

Teesside physicist Dr Evans, originally from Norton, near Stockton, said if he was selected he would keep in touch with family and friends by sending emails and videos, and that his family had been very supportive of his ambition.

The 27-year-old said: “I’m capable of living by myself. I don’t think it’s as much of a big deal for me as it would be for other people.”

Astronomy student Hannah Earnshaw, whose studies include investigating black holes, said she was excited about the "blank canvas" of a new life on Mars.

Miss Earnshaw, 22, said: “Leaving behind friends and family is always going to be challenging.

"I think a Martian colony has so many benefits, from the development of new survival technologies to the social impact of people understanding a little more what it means to be living on the same planet by watching those on a different one.”

Comments (4)

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1:04pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Graeme_r says...

The journey to Mars will be in excess of 100 Million miles, not 34 Million which is the closest possible distance that there can be bwtween Earth and Mars. If they go there I fear they will regret it after a few weeks and I worry that long term exposure to Mars Gravity (only 38% of Earth's) will have severe consequences for them. If components fail, getting spares won't be easy and there will be no hospital there for medical emergencies. A return journey would be far better!
The journey to Mars will be in excess of 100 Million miles, not 34 Million which is the closest possible distance that there can be bwtween Earth and Mars. If they go there I fear they will regret it after a few weeks and I worry that long term exposure to Mars Gravity (only 38% of Earth's) will have severe consequences for them. If components fail, getting spares won't be easy and there will be no hospital there for medical emergencies. A return journey would be far better! Graeme_r

1:52pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Ally F says...

I would much rather we kept the brightest and best academics the N.E. has to offer in this region and deported to Mars via a one-way flight the criminal parasites and dregs of our society that taxpayers have to to finance from cradle to grave.

That way we can conclusively state that there never has been nor ever will be any intelligent life on Mars.
I would much rather we kept the brightest and best academics the N.E. has to offer in this region and deported to Mars via a one-way flight the criminal parasites and dregs of our society that taxpayers have to to finance from cradle to grave. That way we can conclusively state that there never has been nor ever will be any intelligent life on Mars. Ally F

4:44am Fri 17 Jan 14

Gunter2 says...

Well Ally F, your method would actual follow in the same footsteps as previous eras of humanity, and perhaps that would not be a bad thing. Many criminals and deviants from Europe and other parts of the world were deported and sent off to the colonies in Oceania and the Americas. Still, many of those people actually accepted their new roles and became functioning, contributing members of their new societies. Obviously the "new worlds" were rather wild and untamed at first, but they developed nonetheless into civilized places, even becoming places that many people actually really wanted to move to, and countries many people still want to move to today. No place is perfect, and no society on Mars (if this does actually happen) is going to be perfect, but even if "criminal parasites and dregs of our society" were forced to go live there, there's actually no real reason to believe that they wouldn't still manage to form a functional, civilized society in the long run.
Well Ally F, your method would actual follow in the same footsteps as previous eras of humanity, and perhaps that would not be a bad thing. Many criminals and deviants from Europe and other parts of the world were deported and sent off to the colonies in Oceania and the Americas. Still, many of those people actually accepted their new roles and became functioning, contributing members of their new societies. Obviously the "new worlds" were rather wild and untamed at first, but they developed nonetheless into civilized places, even becoming places that many people actually really wanted to move to, and countries many people still want to move to today. No place is perfect, and no society on Mars (if this does actually happen) is going to be perfect, but even if "criminal parasites and dregs of our society" were forced to go live there, there's actually no real reason to believe that they wouldn't still manage to form a functional, civilized society in the long run. Gunter2

7:44pm Fri 17 Jan 14

spragger says...

Can we send the local Labour politicians.
Then the future of the NE will take a turn for the better.
Sorry about Mars
Can we send the local Labour politicians. Then the future of the NE will take a turn for the better. Sorry about Mars spragger

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