Here’s the text of a presentation by physicist Paul Davies about one solution to the cost of a human trip to Mars – make it a one way trip. I’ve always been a science fiction fan, so the concept of humans colonizing other planets is pretty cool for me. This guys is basically advocating a small group of astronauts head to Mars with no expectation of returning, but with the expectation that they will eventually be joined by other humans who will establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.
The idea sounds intriguing and possibly promising – but all I keep thinking is that the people on Mars will come to see themselves as Martians rather than Earthers and then we’ll have some sort of rebellion on our hands. When times get tough Economically here we’ll debate cutting funding to the Martian colony, or perhaps giving them less supplies, and they’ll get resentful. Then they will engineer some kind of Martian super-virus secretly, create some kind of one-way Mars-to-Earth vessel, and unleash biological armageddon on Earth in preparation for a re-conquest.
Alternatively, they will discover the ruins of an ancient civilization and return as our overlords with vastly superior technology.
Or possibly they will be wiped out by aliens on their way to Earth, but their sacrifice will serve as an early warning for us. But that really would only work if the aliens weren’t too smart and went for the little colony before Earth.
In one possible scenario, the colony will be overtaken by a psychotic who forms a cult and turns it into his or her own kingdom where they kill the heretics and then demand recognition as a sovereign nation.
Perhaps after the colony is established they will be mutated by the sun’s rays in heretofore unknown ways and become a kind of super-race.
The possibilities are endless. Spaceward ho!