U of S student Andrew Cooper prepares for final Mars interview

Job interviews are always difficult. But when you're applying for a one-way trip to Mars, the pressure is even greater.

Andrew Cooper makes shortlist for potential Mars One mission

Andrew Cooper is getting ready for an interview that will determine whether he will be a part of the Mars One mission. (CBC)

Job interviews are always difficult. But when you're applying for a one-way trip to Mars, the pressure is even greater.

That's the situation Andrew Cooper is in right now. A Political Studies student at the University of Saskatchewan, Cooper has made it onto the final shortlist for the Mars One project.

The project says it will put 20 colonists on the red planet by 2024.

"I have always looked up at the stars, and wondered when we would get there," said Cooper. "I'm a science-fiction buff, I'm a huge Asimov fan, and I'm excited for the day when you could take a trip to the moon colony."

Cooper is one of 663 people still in the running. Originally, more than 200,000 people applied.

The aspiring astronaut will soon do a phone interview with the project's leaders to assess whether or not he has what it takes to continue.

Cooper said he isn't nervous about answering questions, despite the high stakes involved.

"It's out of the hands of the candidates," he said. "It isn't something that anybody should be stressing about."

The mission is a one-way trip. Any colonists on the project will be living on Mars for the rest of their lives. However, according to Cooper, it's worth it.

"It's really the next step in human discovery," Cooper said. "When people were sailing around the world to discover new places, they could have described that as a suicide mission. That's how a discovery is made — taking new steps to discover places you've never been before."

Another prospective candidate from Saskatoon, Justin Semenoff, is no longer in the running.

Cooper will likely find out if he's made it to the final group of candidates by this summer.


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