Danielle Potter
Danielle Potter

A Manchester PhD student is one of 36 Britons shortlisted to take part in the 2025 mission to Mars.

29-year-old Danielle Potter beat thousands of others from all over the world to make it on to the list, which will now be whittled down further in the quest to find the first humans to settle on Mars.

Danielle, who is completing her PhD at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute at the University of Manchester, told the Manchester Evening News : "It's so exciting to be part of his project and to be shortlisted for what would be a truly historic event.

"I would be doing something that no one, man or woman, has ever done before."

Danielle said that that she was under no illusions that conditions on Mars would be "horrible", but coming from Manchester she said, "I know what it's like to grow up in a hostile environment."

Those embarking on the trip would not return to Earth, as the settlement would be permanent.

"I know it would be a one-way mission. I would miss my family and friends and they would miss me, but we would still be able to Skype. I love Manchester and I would miss the city too, but hopefully I would get Coronation Street up there to remind me of home."

More than 200,000 people applied to take part in the Mars One project, which was set up in 2011 by two Dutchmen. The shortlist of 1, 058 people will now be reduced to a team of 24.

The team will undergo 10 years of training before embarking on the eight-month journey.

"My family have mixed views about it and my friends have said they would get a petition to stop me from going," said Ryan MacDonald, 20, who is also on the initial Mars shortlist.

Oxford University student MacDonald reflected that those taking part would be in closer contact with their families than colonial settlers of past centuries.

"You'll be in closer contact with your friends and family than the people who went to Australia and had to wait six months to hear from their families," he said.

He said that the unique conditions of the Red Planet would make it a great place to grow old.

"Due to the lower gravity there'd be fewer health risks like bone damage, so in old age it would actually be a nice place to retire to," he said.