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One-Way Trip to Mars
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The Edge, a website devoted to exploring scientific and philosophical questions, has an obsequy (don't worry, I had to look up the definition, even though I got it from context) for the seven Columbia astronauts. The list of comments is growing, but I found the one from George Dyson to be particularly interesting.

He has a proposal:

Let the new "Columbia Rediviva" (Columbia Revived) be a ship built to deliver seven human beings on a (for the time being) one-way voyage to Mars. We all know that technically, the hard part is getting back. But if we could get seven people there, the world would unite as one in sending these first colonists all possible support, and, eventually, developing the infrastructure that might allow people to go back and forth.

Basically, send seven people on a suicide mission, then do everything we can to save them. Upon reading it the first time I wasn't sure if it's insane or genius. After thinking about it a while, I found the idea extraordinarily appealing (this would be a very real extrapolation of the dumb TV show Survivor).

Ultimately, though, like many provocative ideas, it would never actually be implemented. I'm sure you could easily find seven willing astronauts, but no government would willingly give the go-ahead to such a potentially unpopular, financially open-ended spending program (hmm...what do we cut in the budget this year to send an ultra-expensive supply shipment to the marooned Mars expedition?

Though this shouldn't keep SF writers from using it as the basis of a story (or has it been used already?).

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