23/02/2015 06:55 GMT | Updated 23/02/2015 06:59 GMT

Mars One 'Finalist' Admits Aim To Die On Mars Makes It Hard To Find A Date

A British student recently selected as one of 100 candidates to go to, and die on the surface of Mars has admitted that the honour has made it more difficult to attract a partner.

Ryan McDonald, who is 21 and a physics student at Oxford, was chosen by MarsOne as one of five British finalists to participate in the — at this point largely theoretical — first private manned landing on the Red Planet.

Mars One currently aims to put humans on Mars by 2024 at a cost of around $6 billion, though sceptics maintain the long list of technical challenges ahead makes the launch of even its first robotic lander unfeasibly ambitious.

But the student, who is also president of the Oxford University Space and Astronomy Society, says that regardless of the issues ahead, it’s already turning potential female companions on Earth away.

“Being single makes it easier for me at the moment because what kind of conversation starter is it to say ‘I’m going to be leaving the planet in the next 10 years?’,” he told the Mirror.

“I’m full-on focused on the mission at the moment – that’s the most important thing to me. So absolutely I wouldn’t be able to have a future with anyone if I started a relationship.”

But Ryan also said that he wouldn’t rule out a relationship in space - if it became necessary.

“I’m an open person willing to try new things,” he said.

The full interview can be read over at the Mirror. Meanwhile a rundown of the technical challenges facing MarsOne can be found here.