Mars One, no two ways about it, is a gutsy project. Four astronauts will go to Mars. They will not come back. Others will go, after a couple of years. The population of Mars will slowly grow. Maybe after a decade or two, if technology advances, some of them will be able to come back. If they want.
But, they’ll go up with the idea in mind that they are never coming back. That they will live out the rest of their lives in an entirely artificial environment on a hostile planet. They will live in extremely close quarters with a very small group of people, and any trip outdoors will require a spacesuit.
There is no shortage of volunteers. There were thousands of applicants for the job. Some people seem surprised about that.
It shouldn’t be surprising. In a world of 7 billion people, no more than a small handful will do anything with their lives that really makes a difference. Yet, that is one of the great cravings of mankind; to do something special, to be the first at something, to make a mark, to actually change the future of mankind, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
Who has the chance to do that any more in this world? No more than a handful of scientists will make great and memorable discoveries. Out of the millions and millions of writers who are writing, less than a dozen will be remembered at all 100 years from now, and yet writers write, painters paint, inventors invent, and explorers explore, but we’ve run out of new places for the explorers unless they go off planet.
We are like little sperm cells, swimming upstream, blindly obsessed like salmon, but only one will pierce the egg. These lucky few astronauts are the envy of the human race. They are the future, about to be born.