“It’s the only way you can actually do a mission to Mars and land there, because otherwise you just won’t have enough fuel to go there and come back.
“It does scare me a little, but it’s not going to put me off. I’d rather go and not come back than not go at all.”
Miss Finnerty found out by email that she had been shortlisted for Mars One, a privately-funded project set up in Holland which aims to establish permanent human life on the red planet by 2025.
The space enthusiast, who is in the final year of her Master’s degree in physics and astrophysics at Sheffield University, said she hopes to write her first research paper on another planet or possibly find evidence of previous life on Mars.
She shrugged off concerns that she may never again see her loved-ones in the flesh if she wins a place on the shuttle.
“We do get to send videos home and get videos back, so they get to see how I’m doing,
“It’s not like I’ve got kids, so it’s okay.”
Asked if she will miss her friends and family, she said: “It will miss them, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
“You don’t not do what you want just because you’re going to miss people.
“It’s a sad fact, but it’s not going to stop me.”
Miss Finnerty will be tested over seven years for her suitability to become one of just 24 Mars-dwellers.
The single 21-year-old said the possibility of never settling down with a partner did not worry her.
“I’m quite picky, so I doubt that I’ll find the love of my life in the 24 people that are chosen,” she said.
“So I probably won’t find someone, so that will make it less complicated, which will be good.
“I never really planned to get married and have three kids and move here or there. I never really planned that, so it’s not as if I’m sacrificing that because I never decided on that in the first place.”