Last year, twenty-thousand people were vying for the possibility of a seat aboard the Mars One — the project that aims to stick a human settlement up on Mars. That number has been whittled down to the finalists — and one of them shared his reason with us for trying to get aboard.
Last night, we asked you what would make you want to join a space colony, and today, io9-commenter and one of the final remaining 700 or so candidates still in the Mars One pool, DanCarey_404, shared this response with us:
I'm one of the Mars One astronaut candidates vying for a slot on a one-way colonization mission. For me the attraction is multiple: doing something no one has done before; advancing scientific knowledge; testing and improving technology that can improve life back on Earth; and taking the first steps toward making Humans a multi-planet species. (And we won't be doing that alone: in the long run we'll want to transplant and save as many other Terran species as possible.)
I definitely understand why off-planet colonization holds little appeal for most people (especially at first). The living conditions will be exceptionally constrained, the diet will be limited, and the number of people for company will be small. But there is no [economical] way around that. Any colony will have to start small in order to establish the viability of the place as habitable.
Of course, while undoubtedly exciting, it's all still very theoretical. While Mars One has said that they plan to be ready to have a human settlement up on Mars by 2024, it's unclear when — or, indeed, if — they'll have the technical and economic resources to accomplish that goal.
Image: Artist's concept of a manned mission to Mars, 1963 / NASA