Washington: It is time to head to Mars, says a group of astrobiologists at Washington State University and Arizona State University.
"The time for a human mission to Mars is now," write Paul Davies and Dirk Schulze-Makuch in their new book, ''A One Way Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet.''
"The overall message of this volume is not just that going to Mars is a worthwhile scientific program and a great adventure worthy of Homo sapiens. It is that we can begin the project now," write the editors.
"This book provides us with a road map for how we can accomplish one of the major upcoming challenges for humankind," Schulze-Makuch said.
"We are not talking about a suicide mission. Our plan is to put four astronauts on Mars to do great science, and build a base camp for others to follow," Davies said.
"These trailblazers will be resupplied from Earth, and eventually joined by additional colonists. It will be the first step in building a permanent human presence on the Red Planet," he added.
But who wants to go?
"My inbox has been overflowing with messages from people eager to go. Some of them distinguished scientists," said Davies.
Davies and Schulze-Makuch write in the introduction of the book: "Since the chapters in this volume appeared in journal form last year, we have been inundated with inquiries by hopeful people from all walks of life eager to obtain a one-way ticket, more than a thousand to date."
TS, a 66-year old male, wrote: "Unlike many applicants perhaps, I like this planet. It''s been a nice home. I've been to all of the continents, even Antarctica. I only mention that to help you better understand my position. It's just that at this stage of my life I feel I can do more.
"I'm sixty-six. What better way to wind down my life than to do something extraordinarily beneficial for mankind by helping him to understand another world? And in doing so to perhaps better understand his own."
Excerpts from what some others who are seeking a ticket for a one-way mission to Mars wrote:
"I would go to colonize the planet Mars. I am 45 and nearing the appropriate age and also I feel a registered nurse would be a great asset to the project. I would like to be considered for the project when the time comes."
"I am a police officer from NYC and would volunteer for a one way mission to Mars. If I could convince my wife to come of course. Sign me up and I'll work on her."
"Life on Mars - just think about it. No human being has ever been there. We've been trying to uncover its mysteries for years. There is the possibility of discovering life on a planet besides our Earth. My name is CH and I am a sixteen year old male for the United States of America."
"Mars is the future of humanity. Living on Earth may not be possible two or three hundred years from now and that might not be curable, so we have to seriously start thinking about a plan B....As a volunteer I think that this is my chance to do something good for humanity and for self. I'm a 22 year old guy, I live in Syria."
Authored by Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, the nearly 400-page book begins with a chapter laying out arguments to immediately begin a series of missions to colonize Mars.
The collection of articles from the book has been published by Journal of Cosmology.
First Published: Sunday, March 13, 2011, 13:11