Perhaps someday your next best customers will be Martians. Well, not Martian in the traditional sense, anyway.
A Dutch initiative called Mars One has ambitious plans: to send four people to colonize the red planet by 2024. Another crew of four will follow two years later. Another two years after that. And so on. The catch, of course, is that they will not come back to Earth.
During a five-month application period which ended this fall, the group says more than 200,000 people signed up to be among the first four people to live on Mars.
Here's the Mars One video explaining the project:
Mars One has contracted Lockheed Martin and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. to develop mission concept studies for an unmanned mission to the planet in 2018, including a robotic lander and a communications satellite. Among the lander's "highest priorities" will be to conduct an experiment demonstrating how liquid water can hopefully be produced on planet's surface, Mars One chief executive Bas Lansdorp told CNN.
To help fund the unmanned mission, Mars One has a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. It's hoping to raise $400,000.
While the project still faces some major hurdles and is a long ways from becoming a reality, it does point to some entertaining possibilities for the future of human civilization. Where people go, business opportunities follow, right?