A mechanical engineering student attending Dalhousie University is one of three Nova Scotian candidates in the running for a one-way trip to Mars.

There are 705 people around the world competing for one of four spots offered up by Mars One, a private company whose goal is to establish a private colony on the planet by 2025.

The organization, which is based in the Netherlands, announced Monday that 54 Canadians had been selected to move on to the next round based on their personal and health profiles.

Tyler Reyno, a Dalhousie University student from Lower Sackville, said he's always wanted to be an astronaut.

"We have travelled to the moon and Mars is definitely the next logical step," he said.

"In the future, farther down the road, there may be thousands of people on Mars and all because of our initial work."

In addition to Reyno, a woman in Halifax and a woman from Barrington in Shelburne County are among the 54 Canadians who have made it to the next round of the Mars One project.

The plan is for a crew of four to depart every two years starting in 2024, with the first groups arriving in 2025.

Reyno said training for the mission could take seven to 10 years and the journey itself could take between seven to nine months — in a very small enclosure.

'Stay on Earth with mommy'

If he gets to Mars, Reyno said he's hoping for around 20 years on the planet. 

"I'd be happy with any amount of time just knowing that I actually contributed to what I think is the biggest thing I could possibly put my efforts toward," he told CBC News.

Reyno isn't alone. More than 200,000 people from 100 countries initially signed up for the trip before Mars One narrowed the pool to its current 705 candidates.

The next cut will narrow the field down to six four-person teams that will train for a decade before one team is selected for the one-way trip.

Reyno said his parents are supportive now, but that may change closer to the launch date if he is selected.

His mother Trudy remembers her son always had dreams of space travel. When he was young, he announced he was going to the moon.

"I said, 'No, no, sweetheart. Other little boys can go to the moon but you have to stay on Earth with mommy,'" she said.

Trudy Reyno said she's proud of her son. She hopes if he does go on the trip she will be able to watch him on a 24-hour TV station and be able to Skype with him.

Mars One plans to interview the 700 applicants before the next cuts are made.