One-way ticket to the Red Planet

Dane on the shortlist for first manned mission to Mars

Christian Knudsen, a 34-year-old systems engineer from Hellerup, is among the 100 finalists bidding to be on a four-person mission to Mars in 2023.

Knudsen found out on Saturday that he had made the cut out of 660 candidates who survived the first round in which 202,585 applicants from 140 countries were whittled down by the Dutch organisation that runs the privately funded Mars One project.

“It caught my interest right away," Knudsen told Jyllands-Posten. “I like the basic idea that sometimes people are willing to risk anything to help technology to take a big leap. I want to show that if you want something, you must also be willing to risk anything for it.”

No coming back
Knudsen is risking a lot should he be chosen. The trip to Mars is one-way, a fact that has received mixed reviews among his family and friends.

"The response spans everything from people who think it's cool and courageous, to others who are very critical,” he said.

“I appreciate both. It's nice to have support, but for a project like this, it is also important to be critical and ask important questions.”

READ MORE: First Danish astronaut to journey into space

The next step for Knudsen’s Mars dream involves meeting will the other remaining candidates.

“The next round will focus on establishing groups and seeing how each of us works with other people," he said.

The right stuff?
Knudsen was cautiously upbeat about his chances of making the final four.

“Some of what they emphasise is that you are versatile and psychologically stable,” he said.

"have always had a wide variety of interests, including technology. At the same time, I am fit and train a lot, and I think the combination gives me a good chance.

More information is available at the Mars One website.