Mars One shortlist: five Britons among 100 would-be astronauts

17th of February 2015

An Oxford physicist who can recall 90 digits of the mathematical entity pi is among five Britons to make the shortlist of would-be astronauts for a proposed one-way trip to Mars.Ryan MacDonald, a 21-year-old masters student from Derby, has reached the final 100 candidates for the Mars One project which aims to set up a permanent human colony on the red planet in 2024.The other British hopefuls are Maggie Lieu, 24, a PhD student in astrophysics at the University of Birmingham, Hannah Earnshaw, 23, a PhD student in astronomy at Durham University, Alison Rigby, 35, a science laboratory technician, from Beckenham, Kent, and Clare Weedon, 27, a systems integration manager for Virgin Media, from Addlestone, in Surrey. More than 200,000 people applied for a place on the $6bn mission which the Dutch non-profit organisers plan to film for a reality television series. The original applicants were whittled down to 660 last year, and to the final 50 men and 50 women this month through a series of filmed interviews.Speaking to the Guardian before making the shortlist, MacDonald conceded that the Mars mission may never get off the ground, but described his motivations for wanting to live and die on the planet.“The most important thing to do in life is to leave a legacy. A lot of people do that by having a child, having a family. For me this would be my legacy,” he said. “Hundreds of years down the line who is going to know who was the President of the United States? Everyone will remember who were the first four people who stepped onto Mars.”

The Guardian