marsDanielle Potter, a Life Sciences graduate who is now studying cancer research as a postgraduate at the University, is hoping to land a place on the first manned-mission to Mars. From 202,000 applicants, Danielle has become one of the final 1058 candidates. The 29-year-old will now be tested to see if she makes the grade and becomes one of the final 24. They then hope to embark on a one-way-trip to the red planet.

Mars One is a privately funded project set up by two Dutch men in 2011 with the aim of establishing permanent human life on Mars by 2025. Danielle, originally from Manchester’s Moss Side, only found out about the mission on application deadline day but signed up straight away. She said:

“What has always driven me with my research is that hunt to find something new. This is what I’m looking at in my research into cancer. When I learnt about this opportunity I thought it would be great to be a part of the most historic thing to ever happen in our galaxy.”

Danielle completed a Molecular Biology degree at the Faculty before being accepted for a PhD at the CRUK Manchester Institute. The former pupil at Trinity School in Manchester City Centre is in the third year of her PhD researching colorectal and lung cancer therapies. Her lab work looks at how different drugs interact and how they may be used to target the disease. She added:

“I never thought going to space would be within my grasp, but it would be great to do research there and look at something no one has ever seen before. My PhD has given me the skills to think outside the box and look at how to go about analysing data found on Mars. If I’m successful in getting into the next round I’ll get to train with some of the best of the best in the space industry and get a lot of experience with training in the Arctic Circle. With my scientific research background, I’d be trained to look for possible extra-terrestrial life on the planet.”

The Mars One team will now continue the shortlisting process. Danielle plans to finish her PhD studies before the training schedule begins.

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