The allure of the unknown to me has always been far more powerful than the comfort of the known.
Since early childhood I have imagined that if I were offered the opportunity to go into space on a spaceship to see what was there, further than we've been before, knowing that I wouldn't come back, I would go. Just to see what was there.
Having decided that I wanted to be an astronaut, I planned to study astrophysics or aeronautical engineering at university. I was then drawn to physical studies on quite a different scale and became fascinated with quantum mechanics. In the interim, my research interests have led me via the field of my PhD, quantum biology, to the famous question, "What is Life?". In my opinion, if life can exist on Earth, in an unimaginably large universe, it must also exist or have existed elsewhere. The study of living systems on Earth, and the mystery of the emergence thereof, is always going to be severely limited by a lack of precise knowledge of the conditions under which it emerged, in a possibly singular event.
Finding evidence of life on Mars would be one of the most important possible discoveries for humanity- a giant leap forward in terms of understanding who we are and where we come from. I would be prepared to sacrifice my personal joys, sorrows and day-to-day life for this idea, this adventure, this achievement, that would not be my own, but that of all humanity.