So Mars One looks to be one (if not the) first opportunity to get humans on another planet in permanent habitation. They’ve asked for volunteers to go, and while I doubt I’ll actually make the cut (do they really need a web-developer/librarian?) I can think of little I would rather do. I just got an email asking why, and I’m going to go ahead and answer that here (in addition to responding).
I would love to go to Mars. Since I was a teenager I’ve been reading Science Fiction about amazing adventures in space. I know reality will likely be far more tame then most of those old Analog magazines, but I can still think of almost nothing I would rather do.
There’s probably no sentient life on Mars, but it is super important for humanity to spread out to other planets before something terrible happens on this one. It really is only a matter of time before either something beyond our control like a rogue asteroid wipes us out. And failing that there’s more and more ways we could destroy ourselves whether it’s a WWIII or a Zombie Apocalypse or more likely something else totally unexpected. The sooner we have a viable colony on Mars, the safer the human race’s survival will be.
Then of course there’s the science! We stand to learn so much by living in a different environment, even if the one we would be living in would be mostly artificial, Mars’ environs would be accessible. So many fields could benefit too, whether it’s comparative Geology, to collaborating on Astronomy projects, and a multitude of other possibilities ripe for discovery.
Personally the chance to walk on another planet, and see the Sun set (and rise) on a Mars would be totally worth all the isolation and hardship that would be entailed with this kind of project.