Joseph Roche, an astrophysicist based at Science Gallery Dublin, is one of three Irish applicants that have made the shortlist of 1,058 out of more than 200,000 applicants attempting to take part in a privately funded mission to Mars.
The Mars One mission, the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, aims to put four astronauts on Mars in 2025.
If Roche emerges successfully from the shortlist it is unlikely he will ever return to Earth from the red planet, an estimated 225m kilometres away.
In a plan budgeted at about US$6bn, Lansdorp envisages sending the infrastructure to sustain the lives of the four astronauts on Mars via a series of Mars rovers, the first of which will blast off in 2018 to deliver living quarters.
Lansdorp aims to fund the Mars One project through TV and sponsorship deals with a Big Brother-style 24-hour TV show involving the public who will vote who gets to go.
Life on Mars
Roche (far left) in action at Science Gallery Dublin
“More than 200,000 people from around the world applied to be considered for astronaut selection and to have the chance to be part of the first crews to live on Mars,” Roche said in a blog on the Science Gallery Dublin website.
“Last week 1,058 of those applicants were selected to move forward to the next round. We are told that group includes three Irish applicants. Steve, a Frenchman living in Cork, is one of them and I am the other remaining male applicant from Ireland.
“An unidentified woman makes up our unlikely triumvirate. If she does not make herself publicly known then she will not be able to progress to the next round (if it’s you, then give us a call!),” he said.