PhD mastermind could live – and die – on Mars

Maggie’s made the final 100

maggie lieu mars mission space student

Astrophysics boffin Maggie Lieu has made the final 100 potential astronauts to venture to Mars.

The 24 year old PhD student now has to undertake 10 years of training if she hopes to be one of the 40 astronauts to go to the Red Planet.

Training will be completed across the globe, with trainees spendinh time in the desert and the Arctic.

The Mars One mission, costing over $6 billion, will be filmed for a reality TV show to raise funding for the 140 million mile journey.

She's swapping this view for Mars

She’s swapping this view for Mars

She joins other students who were on the long list of 600, after being whittled down from over 200,000 applicants for the one way trip.

Others include Hannah Earnshaw, a 23 year old PhD student at Durham University, Ryan MacDonald, 21, an Oxford University student, Alison Rigby, 35, a science laboratory technician and Clare Weedon, 27, a systems integration manager.

Maggie said: “I’ve been interested in space from a young age, probably since science club in year seven.

“I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut but it’s never been a realistic dream, so I swayed towards being a rocket scientist and I did a space science undergraduate degree.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s so crazy because I’ve had so many messages from old friends saying ‘you’re actually following your dream’.

“You can do anything if you want it enough.”

Goodbye Birmingham

Goodbye Birmingham

The final selection are scheduled to leave Earth every two years from 2024, and the team’s skills range from medicine to electronics.

Maggie’s choice may seem like a massive decision at just 24, but she has the full support of her family.

She added: “My mum and dad’s generation didn’t go to university, so they’re so proud just by the fact I’m going to university.

“We’ll be able to communicate home, there will be communication satellites and we’ll have access to the internet, so we can send messages.

“I don’t think it will be too hard and we’ll be in training for 10 years, so we’ll have learned to live away from family by then.”

Her status as a single woman flying to Mars means she could be mother to the first Martian baby.

Who knows?