MAN ON A MISSION: Science Gallery's Joseph Roche on being shortlisted for a one-way mission to Mars

Our resident astrophysicist and Research Projects Co-ordinator, Joseph Roche, on being shortlisted for a one-way mission to Mars:


The man himself

Do I want to go to Mars? Yes. Am I going to go to Mars? Maybe. 

The Mars One project is a hugely ambitious initiative that aims to put four people on the surface of the red planet by 2025. The catch is that they do not get to come back to Earth afterwards. 


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Mars One settlement (Credit: Mars One)

We have gotten pretty good at launching things from this planet. Unfortunately, the challenge of trying to stage a successful launch on another planet remains the biggest obstacle to human space exploration. The Mars One project completely removes this stumbling block, and greatly reduces the overall cost of the mission, by making it a one-way trip. The astronauts would be left on Mars to establish a colony among the modular living cells that would have been landed on the surface in the years leading up to the first human mission.


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Mars One habitat (Credit: Mars One)

Mars One is not-for-profit organisation founded by the successful Dutch entrepreneur, Bas Lansdorp. The organisation is made up of scientists, engineers and media experts that are working together to provide a new way of thinking about space exploration. The financial model for Mars One is to make the whole endeavour a reality TV show, with the sale of the TV rights contributing to financing the mission. 

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. Last week 1,058 of those applicants were selected to move forward to the next round. We are told that group includes 3 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!).


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Joseph takes some time out to chat Science Gallery visitors about the science and maths behind taking risks at RISK LAB

We are at the very early stages and there are trials ahead, not just in terms of getting through the selection process, but for the project itself to overcome the technical and financial challenges that it will meet at every step. There is no denying that it’s an exciting project to be part of and it allows us to bring the ethics of space exploration into a very public debate. Conveniently, I work at the one place that exists to facilitate the exchange of ideas on the hottest scientific issues. 



Seen here at Science Gallery's Electric Picnic tent, Joseph loves nothing more than communicating his love of science to the public. 

Science Gallery will be keeping you updated on all of the latest Mars One developments through their Facebook and Twitter accounts and I will be tweeting about my own progress from my own account too. If you are troubled by the idea of exiling a group of humans to live out the remainder of their lives on a desolate planet, or you think this is the most exciting development in space exploration since the Apollo missions, then come visit Science Gallery and talk to us about it. I’m happy to answer questions while I remain on Earth.

For press queries, please contact Roisin at roisin.mcgann@sciencegallery.com.

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