A Durham University PhD student has been shortlisted to take part in a manned mission to Mars.
Hannah Earnshaw, a second-year PhD student studying astronomy, was chosen as one of only eight people in the UK to be shortlisted for the Mars One project, which will put the first human being on Mars.
The project, which has the aim of setting up a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet by 2024, attracted over 200,000 applicants since launching in 2013. The organisers say that the project will also be filmed as part of a reality television series.
The 100-person shortlist will now be whittled down to 40 people who will then leave for Mars.
As a privately funded, not-for-profit foundation, Mars One says its mother company, the Interplanetary Media Group, enables the project to secure funds from investors.
Hannah is part of a group of 50 men and 50 women who have been shortlisted to take part in the project, with candidates from all five continents.
Talking about the mission, Hannah said: “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.
“I’m intelligent, creative, adaptable. I’m good at working in isolation and in tight spaces, and with small groups of people.
“To me, it’s not about being a perfect candidate now. It’s about being willing to put the effort into the training and preparation to become the perfect candidate.
“I want, more than anything, to become someone that Earth would be proud to have represent them on Mars.”
The initial departure is scheduled for 2024, with the first passengers arriving on Mars in 2025.
More than 200,000 people originally applied to take part in the mission, which is backed by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp.