Irish shorts helmer Ruairi Robinson is set to direct his first feature, “The Last Days on Mars,” based on a script by Clive Dawson, which Focus Features Intl. will pre-sell at AFM.

The thriller, which is in pre-production, will be produced by Qwerty Films’ Michael Kuhn (“The Duchess”) and Andrea Cornwall (“The Scouting Book for Boys”).

Pic, previously titled “The Animators,” follows an astronaut crew on Mars who collect rock specimens revealing microscopic evidence of life. In their last hours on the planet, two astronauts go back to a cavernous valley to collect further evidence, but one falls to his death and his body is taken as a host and reanimated by the very life form they discovered.

Pic is skedded to lens in early 2012 in Jordan and Shepperton Studios in the U.K.

Robinson is also skedded to direct another high-concept sci-fi pic, “The Fallen,” which he is developing with Lionsgate U.K. and producer Kris Thykier.