Dr Joseph Roche aiming to be Ireland’s first Martian after making final 100

16 Feb 2015

Rendering of Mars One base. Image via Mars One

Now that the Mars One mission candidate list has been whittled down to 100, Dr Joseph Roche is Ireland’s sole remaining candidate with dreams of being the first Irish Martian.

The entire selection process has been rather gruelling having started out with 202,586 applicants in the first round with dreams of going on the one-way trip to the red planet and put their name in the history books.

In the previous round, 660 candidates remained, but have now been drastically cut to leave a team of skilled potential explorers of 50 men and 50 women with 39 coming from the Americas, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, 7 from Africa, and 7 from Oceania.

Future Human

In this round, Ireland had three candidates which aside from Dr Roche, included Dr Lekha Menon Margassery from Cork and Steve Menaa, also from Cork.

Dr Roche’s inclusion in the final 100 is likely to echo his previous sentiments after speaking with Siliconrepublic.com last year where he spoke of his acceptance of the one-way nature of the mission, but felt the opportunity was simply one he can’t miss out on.

“I know it sounds like a lot to give up but what you’ll be gaining as one of the first inter-planetary scientists is immense. Even if they called me right now and said there’s a taxi waiting outside, you need to go, I’d go in a heartbeat,” he said.

By being included in the final 100, he now has the opportunity to get his first taste of what living on Mars will be like as all candidates for the third round will undergo training in their facility which replicates the one that will be on Mars to see how they deal with the physical exertions of the mission, while also seeing how they gel with their potential fellow astronauts.

Bas Lansdorp, co-founder & CEO of Mars One said of the final 100 candidates, “The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Bas Lansdorp, Co-founder & CEO of Mars One. “These aspiring Martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic