29Oct2015

I Want To Have The First Baby On Mars

Maggie Lieu, who wants to have a baby on Mars, is among five Britons short-listed for an ambitious project to establish a colony on the planet. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but its true.

So  real in fact that backers insist it will become a $6bn (£3.9bn) reality. A young British student who wants to give birth to the first Martian has been shortlisted in an ambitious project to establish a colony on the planet. Maggie Lieu, a 24-year-old astrophysics student at Birmingham university, was among 100 candidates shortlisted for the mission from among more than 200,000 hopefuls.

The project, called Mars One, has raised eyebrows among some aerospace academics. Backed by a not-for-profit Dutch organisation, the hopefuls will spend the next ten years being trained about life on Mars. The best two women and two men will then be picked to man the spacecraft, which is due to depart in 2024.

Its backers claim the necessary funds will be raised by a reality television programme, following the project’s progress. Even so, the money would only fund a one-way trip and the astronauts would be expected to establish a human colony on Mars, building everything themselves. “I think it would be really exciting to have a child because it would be the first real Martian,” Ms Lieu, from Coventry, told the Independent. “I don’t know what race or nationality it would be because there are no countries on Mars – yet.”

Maggie Lieu from Coventry has applied to be part of the first human colony on Mars  Photo: Caters

Maggie Lieu from Coventry has applied to be part of the first human colony on Mars Photo: Caters

“Nobody knows the effects low gravity would have on a foetus. Also, the high levels of radiation would make the guys infertile. So I don’t know if it would work but if you want to start a colony, you have to reproduce.”

Ms Lieu, who is studying for a PhD in astrophysics, is among five Britons shortlisted for the project. The others include a PhD student from Durham university, a science and laboratory technician and a systems integration manager. Hannah Earnshaw, 23, a PhD student in astronomy at Durham University, is among the British hopefuls. She said: “Human space exploration has always interested me so the opportunity to be one of the people involved was really appealing. The future of humanity is in space.

Hannah Earnshaw is one of the British hopefuls

“My family is pretty thrilled. They’re really happy for me. Obviously it’s going to be challenging, leaving Earth and not coming back. I’ve had support from my friends and family and we can still communicate via the internet.” The 50 men and 50 women were selected for round three of the process after coming through an online interview with the project’s chief medical officer.

“The large cut in candidates is an important step towards finding out who has the right stuff to go to Mars,” said Dutch billionaire Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One. “These aspiring Martians provide the world with a glimpse into who the modern day explorers will be.” But some scientists have expressed doubts that the project will ever come to fruition. Telegraph

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