Study suggests cost-effective trip

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Just decades ago, the best bet for anyone hoping to join a mission to Mars would be the nearest comic book store or sci-fi convention.

But now a pair of scientists has argued in favor of a manned one-way mission to the Red Planet in an article published by the Journal of Cosmology — and over 400 volunteers are scrambling to submit their applications, despite facing the prospect of never again seeing their home planet or their loved ones.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University, co-author of the article, tells KFWB’s Maggie McKay that going one-way only could speed up the trip’s efficiency and departure date.

The article suggests that unless humans begin colonizing another planet, the possibility of a ELE — an extinction-level event — could wipe out all life on Earth.

Schulze-Makuch and Davies say that the planet has sufficient resources for colonists to use to sustain themselves. But in order to keep the costs of any Mars colonization project manageable — reaching Mars would take about six months — they say the trips would need to be one-way.

So if you’re gunning for a chance to be among the first humans to ever step foot on Martian soil — and you don’t mind spending the remainder of your life on it — then take that first small step for mankind and fill out out a NASA astronaut application.

But if the mission ends up being a privately funded project, as some analysts expect, perhaps all you will need to secure a seat is a little bravery and nothing to lose.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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