Dr. Joseph Roche is one of the 705 applicants who have been chosen for a one-way ticket to a new life on Mars, with little home of return to Earth.
Despite the daunting idea and grueling application process, already whittle down from 200,000, the astrophysicist, who works at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Education, remains hopeful that he will be one of the final 300 Earthlings chosen for Mars One’s project, a new life on the red planet in ten years time.
Roche (28), whose previous experience includes work for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, is now playing the waiting game and getting ready for further test by the Dutch non-profit planning this adventure.
He spoke to the Irish Independent about life on Mars:
Among the tests carried out by the Mars One project will be an intensive psychological one, to see if participant live among a few hundred humans and to see if they can live without seeing their families and loved ones again.
Speaking at the Festival of Curiosity in Dublin earlier this year Roche said he idea doesn’t weigh on his mind.
He said “I’ve thought a lot about it in the intervening period and my opinion on it hasn’t changed at all,” says Roche.
“It’s impossible to even comprehend all the things you’d miss back on Earth as no one has ever had to do it before but I think it becomes a bit more understandable if they think it’s something someone is passionate about.
“I know it sounds like a lot to give up but what you’ll be gaining as one of the first inter-planetary scientists is immense. Even if they called me right now and said there’s a taxi waiting outside, you need to go, I’d go in a heartbeat.”
More recently speaking to young scientists at the Creative Tech Festival in Google’s Dublin HQ he said that those successful Mars One astronauts, in ten years time, might not be as isolated as we imagine.
He told the crowd “One thing they've promised you on Mars is Internet and WhatsApp. WhatsApp is how I keep in touch with family and friends on earth, so I'm happy with that."
Roche, who is single, also commented on his relationship status. He said “A lot of people wanting a relationship want commitment, and it's hard if you can't commit to being on the planet. But there are (Mars One) candidates with children and wives who are willing to leave their loved ones behind."
Here’s an introductory films for the project, Mars One: