Mars man almost missed out with chicken pox
DUNLAVIN MAN MAKES IT THROUGH MEDICAL ROUND
DUNLAVIN MAN Joseph Roche moved one step closer to realising his dream to move to Mars as part of the Mars One Programmme recently but the dream was nearly thwarted by a dose of the chickenpox.
Astrophysicist Roche is one of 1,058 shortlisted candidates for the mission to Mars from a pool of in excess of 200,000 applicants. But there is a catch... it's a one way journey.
The son of Pat and Collette Roche of Dunlavin, Joseph works at the Science Gallery in Dublin and says he has always had ambitions to go into space.
He recently completed his medical for the trip but a dose of chicken pox contracted from his niece and nephew nearly dashed his dream. He said that some of the initial tests produced some unusual results because of the chickenpox virus but once the virus was detected and cleared the results were all normal.
The next stage in the application process is an interview round which is expected to take place later this month.
‘At the start there were around 1,058 applicants, but I'm not sure if all of them have submitted medicals. Some of them might have decided they don't want to take part and maybe some of them didn't make it through the medical round, but there is certainly several hundred that have made it through to the next round.'
Roche said that one applicant in Japan who signed up against his parents' wishes was evicted from his family home after he got through to the next round.
The man behind the project is Dutch national Bas Lansdorp.
He aims to land a colony of four astronauts on the surface of Mars by 2025.
The successful applicants will receive eight years of training. Robotic missions will also lay the infrastructure on Mars, which is over
225 million kilometres away from earth. Subsequent rovers will deliver living quarters and life-support units, while back on Earth the first four astronauts will prepare for lift-off in 2025.
The project's ultimate goal is to establish a colony on the Red Planet.
Joseph said he's very excited about the proj- ect which will rely heavily on existing technology. ‘No new inventions are required for this to happen. It's largely the same technology that has been keeping humans alive for the past 11 years on the International Space Station that will keep our astronauts alive on Mars.' He acknowledges that the technology doesn't exist to bring people back from Mars and accepts his life expectancy will be reduced on the planet.
'People assume that just because I want to go that I must not be happy here, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
‘I've been very fortunate. I grew up in a great family and love my work. I think putting someone on Mars who has a full appreciation of life on Earth is key to the mission's success.' He adds, ‘It's difficult to imagine what it would feel like to leave family and friends behind.
‘You would be looking at a reduced life expectancy but for me each and every day you spend on the planet you will be taking a leap forward for scientific endeavour and for me, I would have to go.'
He also said that the launch wouldn't take place ‘unless there's a strong likelihood that people are going to be safe and able to live comfortably on Mars. Nobody is going there to die. People are going there to live.'
The Mars One Project aims to raise €6 billion through crowd funding and Reality TV series. Mars One will be a 24-hour reality TV show, with the public voting on which applicants will get to travel.
Joseph Roche is edging closer to his dream to live on Mars.