Meet the British men and women shortlisted for a one-way mission to Mars

Hannah Earnshaw, Alison Rigby, Ryan MacDonald and Danielle Potter are among the Britons to have made the shortlist. Photo: ITV News

A mission to put humans on Mars has whittled a list of 200,000 applicants down to 1,058 candidates who will now be tested to come up with a final list of 24 would-be Mars-dwellers.

Mars One was set up in 2011 by two Dutch men with the goal of establishing permanent human life on the red planet by 2025.

The shortlist includes 36 British men and women. ITV News spoke to a selection of them about why they would want to leave Earth forever.

Ryan MacDonald, 20

Ryan plans to complete a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics after his undergraduate degree.

Ryan is a physics student at Oxford University says his friends and family weren't surprised that he applied to live on Mars.

He is single and has no children but says his younger sister would rather he stayed on Earth.

"By going to Mars I suspect I could accomplish much more for science than I could as one of seven billion people on Earth," says Ryan.

"I want to be the eyes and hands of all the researchers that can’t go themselves."

Danielle Potter, 29

Danielle is researching treatments for lung cancer and is also a hairdresser.

Danielle is studying for a PhD in cancer research and is also a hairdresser.

She is already in a long-distance relationship with her partner who lives in Florida and likes the sound of being in the first ever interplanetary relationship.

Her family, she says, are sad about the prospect of her never returning to Earth and would "start petitions all over Manchester" to stop her going.

"The opportunity has come and I want to be a part of the most historic thing to ever happen in our galaxy," she says.

"I decided to become a scientist because I was excited by carrying out novel research - that’s what motivates me."

Dr Keith Evans, 27

Dr Evans said Mars One was "no less realistic than the project to put a man on the moon would have seemed."

Dr Keith is a physics researcher at Warwick University and has a large extended family but no children of his own.

An avid gamer, he would take a portable video games machine with him if selected.

"Of all the Mars missions I've seen announced in my lifetime, Mars One is by far the most technologically and logistically plausible," he says.

"The reason for this is, of course, the fact that it is one way and that it is a private endeavour so there is no need for a return vehicle and no politics."

Hannah Earnshaw, 22

Hannah Earnshaw's luxury item of choice on Mars would be a ukelele.

Hannah studies black holes as part of her astronomy PhD and is excited about the "blank canvas" of a new life on Mars.

She says she doesn't have a house or car or any pets to leave behind but would miss her family and friends.

"I think a Martian colony has so many benefits, from the development of new survival technologies to the social impact of people understanding a little more what it means to be living on the same planet by watching those on a different one," Hannah says.

"I want to be one of the people who helps to build the colony and make it a reality."

Alison Rigby, 33

Alison Rigby has been fascinated by space travel all her life.

Alison is a secondary school science technician and has previously worked as a waitress and a call centre telephonist .

She would leave behind her boyfriend but believes he would follow her to Mars on a subsequent mission.

"Mars is a very cold, dry, inhospitable place and we will have to carve a niche for humanity out of the Martian soil," says Alison.

"However the people coming after us, either from Mars One or from other missions, will have it slightly easier because of the efforts of the first pioneers."

Damian Evans, 41

Damian Evans said he has wanted to go to space since he was eight years old.

Damian, an IT consultant, has been with his partner since he was 17 and they have two children.

He says there has been "a lot of positive reaction" to the prospect of him leaving Earth.

"I expect that we will find life somewhere on Mars," says Damian.

"I don't expect to find little green aliens, but most likely I think we will find some simple lifeforms such as bacteria, but who knows? I will remain open minded."

Gillian Finnerty, 21

Gillian is struggling to convince her parents that the mission is a good idea.

Gillian is an astrophysics masters student at Sheffield University and is into snowboarding and music outside of science.

She is excited about the prospect of kickstarting a new era of human exploration but says her parents are "worried about the high risk of me dying."

"I'm worried about the future of life here on Earth - things need to change quickly and drastically if we want to keep living like this," says Gillian.

"Hopefully the Mars One habitat and crew will inspire people on Earth to use sustainable energy and grow their own food, which would help reverse anthropogenic climate change."