Make Barnsley Chronicle My Home Page Close
Share this story

Cudworth man Ryan dreams of Mars life

By gail robinson, Town Reporter Saturday 11th January 2014
Mechanic fitter Ryan Toal hopes to become an astronaut and fly to Mars.

Ryan Toal has a dream - he wants to be an astronaut and fly all the way to Mars on a one way mission.


Astonishingly that seemingly impossible dream has just moved a step closer.


The 29-year-old mechanic fitter, from Cudworth, has just been selected from thousands of applicants to be in the last 40 people in the UK on the shortlist to become an astronaut and fly to the red planet.


The £6billion project, called Mars One, established to put humans on Mars, has whittled a list of 200,000 applicants down to 1,058 candidates worldwide who will now be tested to come up with a final list of would-be Mars-dwellers.


Mars One was set up in 2011 by two Dutch men with the goal of establishing a human colony on Mars by 2025. It is a one way ticket - if the astronauts ever do land on Mars there are no plans to ever bring them back.


Ryan, from Newland Avenue, says he has been fascinated by astronomy and science since he was a small child and dreams of one day walking on the surface of Mars.


He acknowledges that some of the the other finalists have far more impressive academic qualifications than him. They include theoretical astrophysics and science masters students and other academics.


But Ryan is convinced his down-to-earth practical approach to life, and sense of humour, would prove more useful when living in a Martian colony than theoretical knowledge.


"If you are living in a biosphere on the surface of Mars,  I think you would need to be able to have a good laugh and that would be even more important than lots of qualifications," he said.


"Everyone submitted an application video and mine must have stood out as being different because I've made it to the final 40. I might not have a degree but I am full of curiosity and I do have the ability to cope in all sorts of situations."


Ryan says he is not deterred by those who say Mars One is giant hoax, or that the untried technology could prove fatal.


"People can laugh and not believe as much as they want," he said. "But I will be having the last laugh if I end up training to be an astronaut and flying away to Mars.


"And if it blows up on the launch pad, well I will have died chasing a dream and there's nothing wrong with that."


He is so keen to be seleected he has even offered to complete the ten-year-long astronaut training for no salary.


Norbert Kraft, chief medical officer of Mars One said: “The next several selection phases in 2014 and 2015 will include rigorous simulations, many in team settings, with the focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of our remaining candidates.


“We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind. This is where it really gets exciting for Mars One, our applicants, and the communities they are a part of.”