Are there evidence that shows there are enough people who have the resources to pay for a one way trip to Mars to start a colonization? If there are not, then any near future proejcts won't go further than sending several government-funded professionals to Mars, not enough for a true colony.

IMO there won't:

(1) Altough Rich people want to pay to go to Mars for a holiday if it is very safe (including the return), but most rich people should not want to pay to live on Mars for their rest of life, since it is much more miserable than life on Earth (considering their much high opportunity cost for that). Note: tourism in the far future will be based on existing colony which is needed for lauching from Mars.

(2) Although a lot of people want to spend their rest of life on Mars wigh funds support from goverments, but goverments don't have enough funds for that. In fact, any reasonable vote system will vote the fund for other more meaningful tasks, e.g. development of better rockets for another 100 years to get real low cost and high safety/development of true AI robots or even biological robots to replace human resource for the colonization/solving the existing issues on Earth.

Then even with an Apollo-like project that could send several government-funded professionals to Mars, is there a big enough human resource base for colonizing Mars?

If not, then why are there many people (except for space funs) talking about a near future (e.g. 50 year) colonization in a very serious way these days? Don't they realize this possible problem?

  • $\begingroup$ @GremlinWranger Isn't your comment an answer? Now I found that "From its announcement in 2012 to its bankruptcy in early 2019, it is estimated to have received tens of millions of dollars" So that seems to agree with me...To be specific, Elun Musk declare 2M for a ticket, I guess real budget need 10x+, and that is only for the trip, not cost for the following support streams from Earth. OP can be considered opinion based, but also have some on topic question traits. $\endgroup$
    – jw_
    Dec 10, 2020 at 8:00
  • $\begingroup$ nice edit is much clearer what your question is and is probably answerable without delving too much into opinion territory- having a question with IMO in it is not best practice but can see why it is there. $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2020 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ I still think this is opinion based. There are lots of rich people in the world but how many of them would want to go or fund people to go to Mars is speculation. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Dec 10, 2020 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ @GdD OP is indeed easy to bring in opinion based answer, but that is not accepted. The point is, if there is not evidence for this, then the chance of failure is very high. BTW for most rich people only a small portion of their fortune is donated each year, for which there are far more other projects to donate to. Only people that is crazily passionate about Mars can donate a lot in a short period, but the sad thing is that Elon Musk dosn't have a lot of cashable resource - only a huge bubble. $\endgroup$
    – jw_
    Dec 10, 2020 at 9:54
  • $\begingroup$ @GremlinWranger I've added the business tag and I think the question is sufficiently on-topic to stay here, and now that you've added such a nice answer perhaps you might as well. But with three close votes already, I'm afraid that your first comment may encourage two more more drive-by close votes. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 10, 2020 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


The Mars one scheme/scam and the history of the colonization era (also rich in schemes and scams) indicate there are plenty of people willing to make a one way trip.

With mars the question is where the money would come from. There are more than two thousand billionaires, and somewhere around 40 million millionaires. If we take the two seriously wealthy individuals who currently own space companies as a starting point, that gives a number of space committed billionaires at .1%. That suggests that there would be in spherical cow terms at least 40,000 millionaires prepared to put down for a mars trip.

So if you need 500 people to take to mars and assuming a linear distribution of wealthy (yes, it is more logarithmic) that suggests that somewhere around the 500 million per seat point you can find enough self paid travelers (assuming you want to spend the rest of your life with 500 previously rich space nerds).

The element that can only be opinion based at the moment is at what point in time a seat to Mars would be that cheap (A quick google suggest 50 billion per seat).

One possibly notable element in this is that a nation that does convince large numbers of wealthy individuals to buy Mars tickets gets to inject that money directly into the economy building and flying rockets, so there is some justification for a nation to support a Mars program with tax payer dollars for this reason.

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    $\begingroup$ Some thinking: (1) For rich people, their "fortune" contains the P/E effect. Take Elun Musk as examle, 120B is just a bubble, there is very little cashable money. (2)The spherical cow need more sample (3) There could be a threshold, like, if the TH is 100M, then most millionaires can't be count in. $\endgroup$
    – jw_
    Dec 10, 2020 at 10:57
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    $\begingroup$ As a longtime supporter of Martian colonization, I took one look at Mars One and said "that is space LARPing." $\endgroup$ Dec 10, 2020 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ There's a difference between people willing to buy a one-way trip And people willing to buy a one-way trip with no realistic chance of return $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Dec 11, 2020 at 2:47

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