The remaining Irish-based finalist in the Mars One project has revealed that his teenage son has given him his blessing to live out the rest of his life on the red planet.
Steve Menaa, 46, found out that he had made it into the final 100 in an ambitious quest to found a human colony on Mars.
The Cobh, Co. Cork-based IT worker had initially failed to make the latest stage of the selection process, but was one of six replacement candidates announced by Mars One chiefs.
And the separated father-of-one said any lingering doubts about embarking on a one-way trip to Mars had disappeared after his son Axel, 15, gave him his full support.
“I had been concerned about telling Axel, because if I make it that far, the hardest thing will be having to say goodbye to him,” Menaa said.
"But I'm delighted to say he's fully behind me. He's very proud I'm doing this and he's told all his school friends about it."
Menaa, who left his native France to set up a new life in Ireland over eight years ago, is the only Irish-based candidate left after the elimination of two previous hopefuls earlier this year.
One of those candidates, Trinity College astrophysicist Dr. Joseph Roche, was booted off the project after publicly voicing his concerns over the astronaut selection process.
In an interview with medium.com last March, the 29-year-old told of his misgivings about the €6 million project, which kicked off with a pool of over 200,000 applicants.
He also claimed there had been no face-to-face meetings with the Dutch firm's chiefs, adding that the only interview for candidates was a 10-minute chat over Skype.
But Menaa, who has had a life-long interest in space exploration, defended the project, which is due to launch its mission to Mars in 12 years' time, and stressed he has every faith it will succeed.
"There is absolutely no reason this won't happen, because we have the technology to do this. If you go back in time to ten years before the moon landing in 1969, everybody was laughing when it was suggested that was possible,” Menaa said.
"There's a long way to go, but I hope I'll be representing Ireland on Mars."
Mars One chiefs said they are planning for a crew of four to depart every two years from 2026, with the first group landing on 2027.
The company is aiming to fund the missions through crowdfunding and the creation of a reality TV show around the project.
The next stage of the project will see the 100 finalists taking part in a five-day selection process in September 2016, after which 24 candidates will be chosen for full-time astronaut training.