spoiler alert: i linked this
I thought this was a really neat article that might pique interest around here during the dreary dregs of the all-sports off-season.
On the face of it, it seems utterly ridiculous. But then, when I think about it, I can't help but wonder if this isn't how mann takes his first steps outside of the earth/moon system? Not with some amazing new technology for fast transport, but rather, with people who fully intend to live out their entire lives at thei destination.
Aside from horrible fatalists and the psychotic, who clearly cannot be allowed to go on such a mission, anyone who agrees to travel one way to another planet is going to require a plan for them to survive once they arrive. "I'd be happy to live out my life on Mars, but I want to live longer than the few months that the water and food supplies will last." so, meet that requirement, and now you've got people living on another world growing their own food, purifying their own water, generating their own oxygen (likely all wthin the same aquaculture facility), who are prepared for the long term.
What do people who are in one place for a long time like to do? Expand! Open up new spaces. Study new things. Build a summer home! And in little time, with a few supply missions from Earth, you've got the equivalent of Martian industry allowing the people that live there to do more than live, but to grow. To procreate, expand their facilities, terraform the soil and create a new human frontier.
It had never really occured to me before that the first steps of human expansion could be both permanent relocations AND not metaphorical one-way trips (meaning you're going there to die). I absolutely love the idea of people traveling within our star system, never to return to earth, not to die, but to LIVE.
Tell me this isn't cool.