Leeds man in bid to join Mars colony

An artists' impression of the Mars One settlement
An artists' impression of the Mars One settlement
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A one-way ticket to Mars isn’t on most people’s bucket list, but one man from Leeds might just be on his way.

Forklift truck driver Jason Turner has made it through to the final 705 candidates for the Mars One mission, which plans to build the first human colony on the Red Planet from 2025.

More than 200,000 people around the world applied to get involved, and the numbers have been whittled down in a stringent process, which will eventually see the chosen few get seven years of specialist training to set them up for their new life 300 million miles away.

In his video application, Mr Turner describes himself as a “bright individual” and says going to Mars is “his dream”.

He said: “I know this is in the future but it’s a great opportunity for me.

“I think I’d be a good candidate to be an astronaut. I work hard, and I’ve got a great sense of humour.”

He said he was brought up on sci-fi TV shows like Star Trek and Babylon 5 and has a passion for the universe.

Mr Turner, 38, added: “Being on Mars is a dream - experiencing, working and living there.”

The budding astronaut said he loved a challenge and wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.

And a challenge it would be - if accepted into the first set of 40 candidates, the training, which would include medical education, learning to grow their own food in the habitat, and spending prolonged periods in remote locations, would start next year.

But first he’d be subjected to extreme testing in “one of the most extraordinary and challenging job interviews ever”, according to the people behind the project.

Mars One was set up in the Netherlands in 2011 to develop a strategic plan for taking humanity to Mars. It has called on experts from space agencies and private aerospace companies around the world to develop the plan, which will see astronauts land on Mars in stages, with the first four settling in 2025.

Mars One believes the technology already exists to make the mission a success - but there will not be a return trip. Instead, additional crews of astronauts will be sent every to two years to build the pioneering colony,

It will cost in the region of $6 billion to put the first set of four astronauts on Mars, and around $4 billion for every mission afterwards.

The company has just signed a deal with Big Brother producer Endemol, which will follow the selection and training of the astronauts in a world-wide reality TV show.

They will follow the candidates as they embark on psychological and physical tests as part of an elite training program run by a panel comprised of pre-eminent scientists, adventurers and astronauts.

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