Singaporean a step closer to Mars stay

Electrical engineer Robinson Law has a chance of being one of the four settlers.
Electrical engineer Robinson Law has a chance of being one of the four settlers.

He is among 705 people worldwide shortlisted for project to colonise planet

A Singaporean man has taken another step towards his dream of moving to Mars.

He is one of just 705 people worldwide selected for an interview with organisers of a multi-billion- dollar private effort to colonise the red planet.

This means that 54-year-old electrical engineer Robinson Law now has a one-in-176 chance - much better odds than striking 4-D - of making the first team of four settlers meant to fly to Mars in 2024.

He will be interviewed by Dutch non-profit foundation Mars One, which says it expects candidates to show their "knowledge, intelligence, adaptability and personality".

The interviews and life stories of each of the aspiring cosmonauts will be televised, said a Mars One spokesman.

The candidates who progress will be grouped into several teams comprising two men and two women. They will then train full-time in remote outposts on earth as preparation.

Over 200,000 people applied last year for a chance to join the unlikely venture, which has drawn scepticism from scientists and former astronauts. No human has ever landed on Mars.

Mr Law, a widower who skis, dives, runs marathons, does bungee jumps and rides a unicycle, made the latest cut last week.

The father of three, whose children are supportive, remains modest about his chances.

"The odds are still remote. I will get excited when they say 'OK, you can come for the training,'" he said.

Mr Law told The Sunday Times earlier that he is ready to "leave everything behind" to contribute to mankind on Mars, as his children would be grown up by 2024.

He works for local start-up Avago Technologies and lives in a Sembawang HDB flat with his two sons, 24 and 21, and a daughter, 16. His wife died in 2011.

Elder son Yi Zhuan, a National University of Singapore undergraduate, said that his father's audacity runs in the family.

"All of us have this 'you only live once' mentality... Happiness and freedom are the most important things," he said.

"It would be something great to do for mankind."