Oxford pair on bid for mission to Mars

thisisoxfordshire: Oxford University student Ryan MacDonald is closer to achieving his dream of living on Mars. Picture: OX64589 by David Fleming Buy this photo Oxford University student Ryan MacDonald is closer to achieving his dream of living on Mars. Picture: OX64589 by David Fleming

IT’S a trip that will take them a year to travel around 140 million miles – and they will never return home.

But that won’t put 30-year-old theatre enthusiast Maegan Reed and 20-year-old Oxford University physics student Ryan MacDonald off their childhood dreams to take on a mission to Mars.

Beating odds of one in 200 to make it on to a shortlist of 1,058 from a pool of more than 200,000, Miss Reed and Mr MacDonald are hoping they will be one of the “lucky” ones. If selected, they will be among the 40 people given a one-way ticket to the Red Planet by the Dutch not-for-profit foundation Mars One.

The company plans to send the first four people to Mars from 2023, where the astronauts will live out the rest of their lives.

They both had to fill in an extensive online application including a one-minute video explaining their motivations.

Miss Reed, who lives in Cowley, said: “I’ve always been fascinated with space travel and wondered what it would be like to float in zero gravity. I’ve always loved sci fi — particularly Star Trek. Exploring new worlds is such a wonderful idea.”

She added: “I just thought it was an opportunity to do something really interesting and I thought why not? I never expected to get selected but I am honoured if I do.

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“It is something that could be the next big thing for humanity.”

  • Ryan MacDonald's YouTube video

Miss Reed, who moved to Oxford in 2009 from Canada, works for a publisher and writes, acts and produces for MADsoc, an amateur theatre group. She said winning the trip to Mars would be scary, but a great opportunity.

University College student Mr MacDonald said: “The technology for a return mission to Mars doesn’t exist at the moment so it’s a one-way ticket. Other students on my course have been supportive and the research I’ve done helps with my studies. My sister Bronte, who is 18, doesn’t want me to go.”

  • Maegan Reed's YouTube video

The first round of the applications finishes on August 31 before three more rounds will decide who is off to space.

Mr MacDonald said: “If all goes to plan, I’ll land on Mars in April 2025, to set up a pressurised settlement – pre-assembled before departure. The first years will be tough – no-one has attempted such a daring initiative before.”

He added: “I didn’t sign up to die on Mars but to live on Mars.”

Mr MacDonald, who has always been fascinated by space, said he was a step closer to his dream.

Mission applicants must be over the age of 18 and have certain personality traits including resilience, adaptability, curiosity, ability to trust and creativity/resoursefulness.

For further information, visit mars-one.com

To view Ryan’s applications, go to youtube.com/watch?v=uVP2I TuCkOk and there are more entrants’ profiles at applicants.mars-one.com/profile/ 306b1024-b690-4ba2-8f00-bd7b575b6f50

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