A law graduate from Rutland has been shortlisted for an ‘out of this world’ one way trip to Mars to hopefully become one of the first humans to settle on the planet.
Alexandra Doyle, 29, from Oakham is among the final 100 candidates to have been chosen for the Mars One Project which plans to set up a permanent human settlement on the Red Planet by 2024.
Alexandra, who moved to Rutland in 1998 from South Africa, has made it through to the final stages of the competition out of more than 200,000 people who applied for the one way mission into space.
She said: “It’s the most incredible thing I’ve heard, part of me didn’t think it was real. Space has always fascinated me, but I thought it was completely out of my reach.
“It’s a surrealist idea ever to think I might be able to live on another planet.
“The thought of colonising a new world is crazy but it’s the most amazing dream.”
In total, 50 men and 50 women have been shortlisted from around the world for the mission, including 29 from America, 31 from Europe, 16 from Asia, seven from Africa and seven from Oceania.
Organisers of the Mars One Project have estimated the mission will cost six billion dollars and is set to be filmed for a reality television series.
Alexandra, who is a former Rutland County College student, was selected from a pool of 660 candidates after taking part in online interviews with the mission’s chief medical officer Norbert Kraft, where she was tested on her understanding of the risks involved, team spirit and motivation to be part of the expedition.
She first applied in 2013 after hearing about the project on the radio and only just got her application in before the deadline.
She said: “I didn’t think I’d even get past the first round, I was very shocked.”
Alexandra, who currently works at Catmose Sports Centre and at Tesco in Oakham, has only just told her close friends and family about her achievement, but has received a positive response.
She said: “I initially wanted to keep it to myself as it’s such a big dream of mine. How do I tell someone I might be going to live on Mars?”
The one person Alexandra did tell straight away was her grandad who sadly passed away just before she found out just how far she had come.
She said: “He was so excited for me, my grandad was obsessed with space. We both have the same mindset, he was a real adventurer and has passed that onto me.”
The next stage of the process will involve whittling down the final 100 to a group of 24. The Mars One selection committee will create groups of four who will have to demonstrate their ability to live in harsh living conditions, and work together under difficult circumstances, whilst in a copy of the Mars outpost. Four will then be selected to go to Mars.
For more information visit http://www.mars-one.com/