Here’s an interesting article about scientists proposing one-way Mars trips. I was most struck by this point: They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return.
As I mentioned in a previous post — sign me up. Especially if, as discussed in the article, the Marstronauts might logically be folks near the ends of their lives anyway. But most Spectacle readers weren’t willing to come with me, ha!
The settler analogy got me thinking, though. Historically, most settlers were leaving the old for the new in the hope of something better, not for something known to be, well, worse. But not all settlers in history have been voluntary, either. Australia was a penal colony, and not the only one. There have been sci-fi stories about penal colonies on other planets, asteriods, etc. What if we gave lifers a choice? Or no choice at all?
One the one hand, we might not want a whole planet full of criminals, malcontents, or social misfits.
On the other, Australia turned out all right.
Or is an escape hatch to another planet a bad idea… because it will give us less motivation to protect the planet we have?