Mars One

Is it insane to sign up for a one-way trip to Mars? Mason Peck would like to assure you it is not. He addressed the sanity of Mars colonizers in a post yesterday on the Mars One website. Peck is a Mars One adviser who previously served as NASA’s Chief Technologist; Mars One is the company that plans to send one-way missions to colonize the Red Planet starting in 2024.

Mars One is now in the process of interviewing hundreds of applicants, out of an initial pool of more than 200,000. Eventually, the company wants to find just 24 to 40 colonizers to go permanently into space. Meanwhile, the company has launched a forum where experts answer ethical questions about the private mission. Peck’s answer to “Is a one-way journey wrong?” is the forum’s first post.

“There are many motivations for becoming one of the first settlers on Mars, none of them insane in my opinion,” he wrote, before listing four. Later, he wrote, “In fact, I think we may be morally obligated to permit people the freedom to do so, and not impede their desire to realize their dreams by imposing our own fears or superstitions based on uninformed perspectives.”

Although it’s too late to apply now, you can learn more about the project in Popular Science‘s April 2013 story about Mars One’s recruiting of applicants. You can also meet an applicant and hear about her reasons for wanting to go.