It sounds totally sci-fi, but NASA appears to be serious about sending humans off into space to establish colonies without any hope of returning to Earth, per this report in the Daily Mail:
NASA is planning an audacious mission to send a manned spacecraft on a one-way trip to permanently settle on other planets. The ambitious idea is known as the Hundred Years Starship and would send astronauts to colonise planets like Mars, knowing they could never come home.
NASA Ames Director Pete Worden revealed that one of NASA’s main research centres, Ames Research Centre, has received £1million funding to start work on the project. The research team has also received an additional $100,000 from Nasa.
‘You heard it here,” Worden said at ‘Long Conversation,’ an event in San Francisco. ‘We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund.’ He added: ‘The human space program is now really aimed at settling other worlds. Twenty years ago you had to whisper that in dark bars and get fired.’
Worden said he has discussed the potential price tag for one-way trips to Mars with Google co-founder Larry Page, telling him such a mission could be done for $10 billion. He said said: ‘His response was, “Can you get it down to $1 [billion] or $2 billion?” So now we’re starting to get a little argument over the price.’
Worden also suggested that new technologies such as synthetic biology and alterations to the human genome could also be explored ahead of the mission. And he said that he believed the mission should visit Mars’ moons first, where scientists can do extensive telerobotics exploration of the planet. He claims that humans could be on Mars’ moons by 2030.
News of the Hundred Years Starship comes as new research found that a one-way human mission to Mars is technologically feasible and would be a cheaper option than bringing astronauts back. Writing in the Journal of Cosmology, scientists Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Paul Davies, say that the envision sending four volunteer astronauts on the first mission to permanently colonise Mars…
[continues in the Daily Mail]