One-way trip to Mars? OK, says Frenchwoman

A comfortable, middle-class Parisian life may be the envy of many people, but Florence Porcel would give it all up to be among the first Earthlings to settle on Mars – even with no option of return.

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“I have always felt a bit cramped on Earth,” the self-confessed space junkie says, delighted to be shortlisted with some 1000 other aspiring voyagers for Mars One – a private project to colonise the Red Planet from 2024.

“I have always dreamt of exploring other worlds,” the 30-year-old journalist said.

“I am not a pilot, nor a doctor, nor an engineer; I was never going to become an astronaut through the normal channels.”

Porcel is among about 200,000 people from around the world who volunteered for the extraordinary project.

It would see two dozen pioneers abandon Earth for a new start on a cold, dry, oxygen-less planet some 55 million kilometres (or six months’ travel) away.

The high cost of the project, an estimated $US6 billion ($A6.7 billion), precludes the option of a return trip.

The trial resettlement is meant to be mainly funded by a reality-TV show about the project.

The final 24 would be sent to the Red Planet in six separate launches starting in 10 years, according to the Dutch-based non-profit group behind the endeavour.

A short-listed 1058 candidates from 140 countries were informed on December 30 they had made the first cut after going through an online vetting process that included an extensive questionnaire.

The criteria, according to Mars One, include an “indomitable spirit”, “good judgment”, and “a good sense of play”.

The interplanetary pioneers must also be disease- and drug-free and English-speaking.

The list will be finalised next year after further medical and psychological tests.

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