One-Way Trip to the Red Planet -- Martian Colonization Missions

Cosmic Log - Going to Mars ... on a one-way trip

Will the first explorers to visit Mars come back to Earth? Or does it actually make more sense to leave them there? The idea of sending the Red Planet's first settlers on one-way trips has been kicking around for years, and now two researchers have published a paper in the Journal of Cosmology laying out how such missions could play out between now and 2035.

Journal of Cosmology

Journal of Cosmology, 2010, Vol 12, In Press
JournalofCosmology.com, October-November, 2010
The Human Mission to Mars. Colonizing the Red Planet

To Boldly Go: A One-Way Human Mission to Mars
Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Ph.D.1, and Paul Davies, Ph.D.2,
1School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Washington State University
2Beyond Center, Arizona State University
Collected from: Journal of Cosmology

Professors urge one-way Martian colonization missions

Mars is by far the most promising for sustained colonization and development, the authors conclude, because it is similar in many respects to Earth and, crucially, possesses a moderate surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water and carbon dioxide, together with a range of essential minerals. It is the Earth's second closest planetary neighbor (after Venus) and a trip to Mars takes about six months using the most favorable launch option and current chemical rocket technology.

"We envision that Mars exploration would begin and proceed for a long time on the basis of outbound journeys only," said Schulze-Makuch. "One approach could be to send four astronauts initially, two on each of two space craft, each with a lander and sufficient supplies, to stake a single outpost on Mars. A one-way human mission to Mars would be the first step in establishing a permanent human presence on the planet."

SPACE.com -- Mars or Bust! One-Way Trip to the Red Planet Could Kick-start Colonization

But would anyone actually want to sign up for a one-way ticket to Mars? Apparently so.

"Informal surveys conducted after lectures and conference presentations on our proposal, have repeatedly shown that many people are willing to volunteer for a one-way mission, both for reasons of scientific curiosity and in a spirit of adventure and human destiny," the researchers said.