I'm excited to see that the space exploration community is beginning to see the sense of planning a one-way manned mission to Mars. This explanation is somewhat amusing:

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.

It strikes me as trivially obvious that a one-way trip will be both easier and cheaper than a manned mission that intended to return home. I don't think "new research" has suddenly stumbled upon this brilliant insight. The real enabler of this conversation is the growing realization that space exploration has largely abdicated the historical spirit of exploration that motivated mankind for so many millennia.

‘Nevertheless, to attain it would require not only major international cooperation, but a return to the exploration spirit and risk-taking ethos of the great period of Earth exploration, from Columbus to Amundsen, but which has nowadays being replaced with a culture of safety and political correctness.’ ...

But they argue that these first inhabitants of Mars would be going in much the same spirit as the first white settlers of North America – travelling to a distant land, knowing that they will never return home.

They say: ‘Explorers such as Columbus, Frobisher, Scott and Amundsen, while not embarking on their voyages with the intention of staying at their destination, nevertheless took huge personal risks to explore new lands, in the knowledge that there was a significant likelihood that they would perish in the attempt.’

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this project is the potential for private financing.

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.'

I have no doubt that a privately funded Mars mission would be more interesting, more daring, and more successful than one managed by the government or -- groan -- by an international coalition.

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