First, read this fantastic and thought-provoking story by Nancy over on, of course, UT. Then, think about it. Then read the rest of this post. Then comment.
My roommate and I had this lengthy debate over the content of Nancy's story. I mentioned it, and the fact that I would go to Mars on a one-way ticket in a heartbeat. He was appalled, and said it would be boring and a death sentence.
My counter to his arguments like, "But you'll die", "But you'll be all alone" and "All there will be to see is rocks" was to end those arguments with, "ON MARS!!!". Because, seriously, if you were the first person to go to Mars, and die there, and spend maybe a few years doing science there, you would both be remembered forever and revered while you were alive. That isn't all. You would be out on another planet's surface, advancing the prospect of humans blowing this popstand we call Earth and heading for further-off, more exotic places.
Yes, it would be hard to give up everything you know here and live in a stinky bucket on the way to Mars, and then a stinky shack on the surface. All alone. My thought was that you would get a lot of reading done, which would be nice. And, you would be traveling in space to another freaking planet. I mean, how many people can say that they have done that? Not too many. Not too many at all.
It didn't take me much reflection to say that I'd volunteer for it. I would miss my family and friends and biking, but to embark on such an adventure would be impossible for me to pass up. We will all die someday. Why not do it on Mars?
What would you do?