Veteran actor Brian Blessed is being used as a "space guinea-pig" and could voyage to Mars by 2009. The AS YOU LIKE IT star, 69, is a huge fan of the Red Planet and even appeared in a drama documentary about our space neighbour in 2003. Now he's hoping to play the part of astronaut for real when NASA launch him into space. He claims, "I go in 2009. I've been training on Reunion Island in the Pacific. "I will be 71 by then and everybody wants to film it and this will be great fun. I have been made part of the American Martian team so I have been climbing volcanoes on Reunion in a Martian prototype suit. "But before that space trip I will climb Everest autumn next year. "It is because I went to 28,000 feet without oxygen on Everest, when I was aged 62, that scientists are deeply interested and are going to use me as a space guinea pig. They cannot understand how I can go so high."