Is there life on Mars? Irishman in the running to find out

David Bowie wondered if there was life on Mars but now an Irish astrophysicist may be one of a select few who actually gets to travel to the red planet.

Mars, the mysterious planet.

Mars, the mysterious planet. Image by NASA / CC BY 2.0

Trinity College-based Dr Joseph Roche was this week one of 100 world candidates who got to the third round of the selection process to be part of Mars One.

Originally there were more than 200,000 applications to be part of the privately funded mission. Now RTE reports that 100 would-be space travellers are still standing, having come through online interviews

Mars One plans to build a permanent human settlement on the planet within a decade as crews of four depart every two years. Bas Lansdorp, a Dutch entrepreneur wants to send a number of robotic missions there as a way of preparing the local infrastructure for the arrival of humans.

The missions – which will cost an estimated €5.26 billion - will get funds privately through crowd-funding and, wait for it, by the creation of a reality TV show surrounding the expedition.

Candidates have volunteered to be part of the historic mission from all over the globe with America leading the way with 39 people still in the running while Europe has 31, including Dr Roche from Ireland.

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