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From the Midlands to Mars...

People from Derby, Loughborough and Oakham are in the running to be part of the first human settlement on Mars. Around 200 thousand people applied to take part on the Mars One Mission and the shortlist is now down to 700 people.

Hannah Earnshaw, who is working on a PhD in astrophysics, says the participants have to go through psychological tests to make sure they are mentally stable and are able to live in close quarters with other people.

She said she is viewing the mission 'not as some kind of exile' but as 'a new start.'

There is, however, a small catch. The spacecraft which would fly the volunteers to the red planet has not been built yet but it is unlikely it will be able to make the return journey.

It would mean the volunteers would remain on Mars forever.


Derby man shortlisted for first manned trip to Mars

Ryan MacDonald Credit: ITV News

A 20-year-old from Derby has been shortlisted for a mission to Mars.

Ryan MacDonald studies physics at Oxford University and says his friends and family were not 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."

Warwick University man shortlisted for mission to Mars

A physics researcher from Warwick University has been shortlisted for a proposed one-way mission to Mars.

Dr Keith Evans is a physics researcher at Warwick University Credit: ITV News

Dr Keith Evans is an avid gamer and the 27-year-old told ITV News he would take a portable video games machine with him if selected.

A list of 200,000 applicants has been shortened to 1,058 candidates.

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

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

"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."

Picture released of Mars rover that may have found evidence of life

Curiosity Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity – the rover being directed by scientists including Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester, may have found evidence of life.

An image has been released by NASA, who now believe, after analysing rock samples, that Mars could have once supported living microbes.

Dr John Bridges, from the University of Leicester is one of two UK participating scientists on the mission.

Mars mission: experts at the National Space Centre give their verdict

Experts at the National Space Centre in Leicester have been watching with interest tonight as a US millionaire announced ambitious plans to send a couple on a trip to Mars.

Dennis Tito, a former rocket scientist says his Mission For America aims to spur a new era of space exploration.

Anu Ojha from the National Space Centre, said he was excited by the 'audacious' plan but there were big questions to ask about its funding.


Latest photographs from Mars Curiosity rover

The base of Mount Sharp on Mars Credit: Nasa
Landing site and highest point of Mount Sharp Credit: Nasa
Geological layers at the base of Mount Sharp Credit: Nasa
The traces left after a 70 foot (21 metre) journey at end of August Credit: Nasa

The Curiosity rover is the largest and most advanced spacecraft ever sent to another planet. Dr John Bridges from the University of Leicester is leading a team of scientists working on the project.

More photographs are available on the Mars Curiosity website.