Mars away makes your brain cells fly away

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To boldly go where no man has gone before. Can’t say the idea has interested me much in the past.

In fact, one actively seeks out recommendations, asking others where the new ‘it’ place is to see and be seen.

It’s fair to say yours truly isn’t much of an explorer.

Despite that, in the past few days I have been somewhat caught up in the excitement surrounding Rosetta and Philae.

For those with no interest in space travel (don’t worry, I completely understand, I’m usually in that club too) this is the news that a probe - Philae - successfully landed on a 4.5-billion-year-old comet after a 10-year mission.

‘Touchdown! #CometLanding’ was the message sent via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, confirming that the probe - despite a couple of technical hitches and a bumpy landing - had reached its target.

It was the first craft in history to achieve the feat and, according to European Space Agency director general Jean-Jacques Dordain, is a ‘big step for human civilisation’ as samples from the rock could reveal more about the origins of life on Earth.

And Earth may not be the only planet with life in the next decade or so, as the contest to find wannabe astronauts to send on a one-way mission to Mars continues.

Yes, that’s right, one-way thanks to an entrepreneur from Holland, the country which gave us such televisual treats as Big Brother, Deal or No Deal and The Million Euro Drop.

Those chosen for the seven-month voyage go knowing that they will never return home.

And it was revealed this week that, if the ‘Mars One’ crew do make it to the red planet, they will most likely survive for approximately 68 days, thanks to changes in oxygen levels and different forces of gravity. Not great news for the 1,058 people who have made it to the second stage of the audition process. No doubt the other 199,000 plus are taking a sigh of relief.

For now at least, the search continues, and the international reality TV contest to find the fantastic four for the mission is still pencilled in, preparing for a 2024 departure.

Will we all tune in, knowing that a vote pretty much equates to a death sentence?

Those behind the ambitious scheme surely hope so. And let’s face it, they’re probably right.

Houston, we have a problem.