The final frontier: Oxford student shortlisted for Mars mission

Could Univ physicist Ryan MacDonald be the first man on Mars?

An Oxford undergraduate is on his way to making history after being shortlisted for a mission to put a human colony on Mars.

Ryan MacDonald, a physicist at University College, was one of the lucky few shortlisted from a list of nearly 200,000 candidates for the Mars One mission.

Do you know what all those equations add up to? That’s right. Mars.

Set up in 2011 by Dutch entrepreneurs Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders, the mission is aiming to establish a permanent human colony on Mars by 2025.

Speaking to local newspaper the Derby Telegraph, MacDonald said: “I have always loved space so when I heard about it I knew I had to do it.”

An exclusive glimpse at the future Martian colony.

The mission comes with one major drawback – the ticket is one-way and colonists would almost certainly be unable to ever return to Earth – but MacDonald, who is single, is undaunted.

Comparing himself to past British colonists, he said: “If you think about the first people that went to Australia they had to wait for six months to hear back from their loved ones.

Just imagine, if this were the 1700s, Trenton Oldfield’s family still might not have heard what a pillock he is.

“On Mars, the delay on messages is only a few minutes.”

There’s still a long way to go – the current shortlist of 1058 will be whittled down to 24 in the coming months – but all won’t be lost for MacDonald if he doesn’t make the final cut.

The Dutch will do our boy proud, I’m sure of it.

The third-year plans to pursue a master’s and doctorate in physics if his space dreams don’t come true.

So, if Mars is a frontier too far, there’s always St. Hugh’s…