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Mars mission finalist: Saying bye to family 'not a dealbreaker'

Gillian Finnerty, one of 1,058 people selected to the shortlist for the Mars One project, says going to Mars and never seeing her family again is like immigrating to Australia.

A crazy endeavor?
HNews/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We've all become deal-seekers at heart.

When we get the better end of a deal, we feel such vast pride in winning that we almost pity the loser. But not quite.

So please imagine the deal that 21-year-old Brit Gillian Finnerty would like to make with the universe -- and specifically, with the Mars One project.

This enterprising (and private) endeavor looks to send real human beings to Mars. Your faith in science's control over space might be such that you will feel everyone is bound to return.

Alternatively, you might feel that anyone who takes this deal is several boosters short of a rocket.

Finnerty, though, is someone who's always wanted to be an astronaut. She's therefore enamored of rational thought.

She told the Telegraph that she imagined it likely that this would be a one-way trip: "It makes me think it's more likely to happen, because it's much more logical."

Yet the idea of never seeing her family again she describes as "not a dealbreaker."

Some will speculate that she may be blessed with the family from hell, so never seeing them again would be a rich mercy.

Finnerty, though, told the Telegraph: "It's no different to moving to Australia and never really planning on coming back."

I, too, would like to be as enamored of rational thinking as is she. I therefore ask myself: "If I were a member of Finnerty's family, would I go visit her on Mars, just as I would if she were in Australia?"

I find myself constructing answers consisting of words such as "chance," "Hell's" and "cat."

Still, she still has 10 years to think about whether her logic holds. The first trip is supposed to take place in 2024.

Her current mindset is quite bullish. She told the Telegraph: "We do get to send videos home and get videos back, so they get to see how I'm doing."

Oh, that's alright then. And she added: "It's not like I've got kids, so it's okay."

It is, indeed, OK. But love creeps up on you with clinical illogic and grips you till it hurts. It squishes your thinking, while simultaneously laughing at your sudden life-incompetence.

Then it tosses you out into the galaxy, without even a Bullock or a Clooney for company.

Twenty-four people are due to be chosen for this quest into the unknown. Finnerty says it's hardly likely she'll meet a passionate adoration among them.

She is, of course, currently a student of astrophysics, rather than astrology. The only question is that should she be selected, will she really be able to deal?

Updated 1:26 p.m.: The minute Finnerty saw this post, she contacted me on Twitter to present (a little) more of her human side. She told me: "My parents will be about 68 by the time i leave anyways btw :) & if i do happen to fall madly in love I will indeed rethink."

We earthlings are rooting for you, Gillian.