ABC News reports a radical ideal has been proposed in the Journal of Cosmology: Send astronauts to explore Mars, but leave them there to colonize it. Would you boldly go to Mars if you knew you would never come home? From the article:

In a special edition published in October, the Journal of Cosmology detailed how a human mission to Mars could be a reality in as little as 20 years. But the complexity, risk and cost of getting astronauts there and back have kept the idea firmly on the ground.

So a few scientists proposed an unconventional idea: send astronauts -- but simplify the flight by making it a one-way trip. The astronauts would be settlers as well as explorers. A return trip is massively more difficult than the voyage there, partly because the fuel and supplies to get home would have make the round trip from Earth.

It's just an idea, for now, but would you be willing to make the ultimate one way trip to help send mankind into the stars? Apparently man feel they would.

The editors say they were stunned when more than 500 e-mail messages came from people around the world, volunteering to be the first Mars colonists.

Students, soldiers, law enforcement officers, nurses, and space enthusiasts young and old wrote in, saying they'd be happy to leave their lives on Earth for the chance to be pioneers. (The response was so great, in fact, that the journal announced Thursday that it would actively seek volunteers and supporters for a Mars mission. It encouraged the public to sign up on the journal's home page or e-mail them.)

The scientists emphasized that it wouldn't be a "suicide mission." Instead, the volunteers would live out their lives on Mars, building the first hub for colonization. So, would you go?

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