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Mars Colonization Attracts Popular Support

Sunday, 29 May 2011 11:57 AM

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A one-way ticket to Mars does not seem like something that would get many takers. However, when two scientists brought up the idea in the Journal of Cosmology, more than 1,000 people said they would be willing to help colonize the Red Planet, The Washington Post reports.

Paul Davies of Arizona State University and Dirk Schulze-Makuch of the University of Washington proposed a one-way colonizing mission to the fourth planet from the sun. Davies told the Post that “our initial goal was to find a way to develop a human mission to Mars that could actually take place, that wouldn’t cost so much that it would be impossible to pull off. And the one-way trip, as we costed it out, would be about one-quarter the price of a there-and-back mission.”

The response showed that the spirit of exploration is alive and well, Davies said. “Just like with earlier explorers, they are prepared to set out knowing they won’t come back, but willing to do it because their time on Mars would be so remarkable,” he said.

Schulze-Makuch, who said the goal is to start a colony on Mars, imagines the first batch of colonists living in a lava tube or some in a shelter they haul along with them.

NASA is not exactly keen on the idea of sending folks to Mars and leaving them or, for that matter, traveling to Mars in the near future. With that in mind, the scientists are looking at the growing private space industry to provide the ride, the Post reported.

Although such a mission isn’t even on the drawing boards yet, it did light a spark among would-be adventurers. Jessica Sloan, 27, told the Post, “My great-grandfather came to the United States in the cargo hold of a Russian ship and slept in a bathtub in New York City. He, like so many others before, left his home to start a new life in an unknown land. I’m not saying that I think Mars is the promised land or that I’m fleeing any great adversity. But space really is the ‘final frontier’ and perhaps humanity’s last great adventure.”

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