Mars One: meet the students who made the shortlist


The sky’s the limit- quite literally- for tomorrow’s ground-breaking graduates, as a large number of students appear in the latest Mars One shortlist, which details the 100 hopefuls who are one step closer to becoming the first humans in history to set foot on the Red Planet.

The list of Round Three astronaut candidates was released yesterday; university students represent more than one in 10 of the 100 international candidates shortlisted for the Mars One Project which intends to develop and sustain a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2024.

Since 2013, more than 202,586 applications have been received for the privately-funded expedition which organisers have estimated will cost around £4 billion. If successful, it is set to represent one of the most audacious- and controversial- achievements in human history.

The 100 candidates will be narrowed down further to a group of 24, based on their success throughout a series of physical and emotional trial tasks which will be filmed and made public as a reality TV series. According to a Mars One press release, the series will centre on the process of building six teams of four, each of which will prove its ability to adapt to the hardships of life on Mars; candidates are set to begin their trial tasks in a simulated Mars One outpost environment that is to be constructed on Earth.

Among the most recently shortlist are five university students, who have decided to use their expertise not only to further their own education, but also to broaden the horizons of mankind.

Hannah Earnshaw (UK) – PhD student in Astronomy at the University of Durham

“Putting a colony in Mars is just a small step in such a big adventure and that’s such an incredible thing to be a part of.”

“Human space exploration has always interested me so the opportunity to be one of the people involved was really appealing. The future of humanity is in space. My family is pretty thrilled. They’re really happy for me. Obviously it’s going to be challenging, leaving Earth and not coming back. I’ve had support from my friends and family and we can still communicate via the internet.”

Taranjeet Singh Bhatia (India) – PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida

“Satnam, fellow Earthlings, I want to be Martian now.  All my life I always wanted to be involved in space missions. As a child, I spent hundreds of nights gazing at the sky and always wanted aliens to abduct and take me into space. I am studying for a doctorate in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida. I am a Technologist, sports person, adventurous, comedian, team leader, imaginative, highly dependable & trustworthy and jolly person.”

Laurel Kaye (USA) – Physics and Pre-Med student at Duke University

“I want to go to Mars not just to be a part of history, but to be on the frontier of exploration so that I could do science on Mars and inspire people around the world.”

Dr. Maggie Lieu (UK) – PhD student in Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham

“It’s always been my dream to explore space and advance space science so being given the opportunity to one of the first ever people to physically land on that piece of space rock would be a dream come true.”

Ryan MacDonald (UK)  – MA student in Physics at the University of Oxford

Hi, I’m Ryan, I’m a finalist master’s student reading physics at the University of Oxford. I’m currently working on designing a thermal-IR camera for a future sample return mission to Mars’s moon Phobos, which could one day select the first landing site on the moons of Mars. But this pales in comparison to what I can do on Mars. To search for evidence of past or present life, to speak to and inspire schoolchildren back on Earth, to build the first civilisation on another planet … How could anyone say no to that?”

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