A TAXI DRIVER from Hull and a forklift truck operator from Leeds could be in line for a one-way ticket to Mars.
Melissa Ede and Jason Turner have made it through to the final 705 candidates for the Mars One mission, which plans to build the first human colony on the Red Planet from 2025.
More than 200,000 people applied to get involved. The winners will get seven years of specialist training to set them up for their new life 300 million miles away.
And their journey will be filmed for an international reality show by the makers of Big Brother, Endemol.
The 40 chosen candidates will then take part in gruelling training, which will include medical education, learning to grow their own food in the habitat, and spending prolonged periods in remote locations.
Taxi driver Miss Ede, 53, who is transgender, said she would use the experience to raise awareness of diversity issues. “I don’t give up on things; if I have a goal I will go for it,” she said. “When I first saw the advert I thought it all sounded a bit sci-fi, but the more I looked into it, the more potential there was.”
Miss Ede is so committed to the plan that she has already had a tattoo of the Mars One logo on her arm. She added: “It’s exciting – we’ll be the soldiers going ahead of the generals. Living on a different planet doesn’t scare me.”
Mars One believes the technology exists to make the mission a success – but there will be no return trip. It will cost $6bn (£3.6bn) to put the first set of four astronauts on Mars.