Re: One Way Trip to Mars?
As long as you could establish some means of communications with earth, the really, really smart people could tell the people willing to take the risk and capable of finishing instructions what to do. I'd think the later group of people willing to do that is bigger than anyone might think.
Sure you'd have to be off your rocker a bit, you'd probably have to have little on Earth to live for (so to speak) in terms of family, wife, etc...but think about the long term glory. Neal Armstrong will be in history books 1,000 years from now. John Glenn? maybe. You're typical president will be a footnote in American history. One of the people to first land on mars? There would be a whole chapter devouted to you. Stuff like that motivates people to do things they wouldn't otherwise do.
Personally, I think finding 8-12 people capable of doing the job (assuming you can establish some form of communication) will be easy compared to the logistics of getting them there, getting the supplies neccessary to keep them alive long enough to get more supplies there and establish some form of base that will allow for more people to reach and in habit Mars (or if any women go at first allow for the birth of children). A 100 year project, you betch ya, and then some. Its going to take some serious long term commitment, that will span several administrations and countries, as well as the politics involved.
Think about it, any person that goes mentally unstable and becomes a physical threat to the others is doomed to death (explusion to the environments which they couldn't survive) to maintain the safety for all. Any person that somehow catches a severe long term illness that is in anyway contagious, will be dealt a similar fate. There will be issues that will come up that we can't even think of today due to the nature of the situation. Things we can deal with easily on Earth, but would be certain death sentances in an early Mars establishment.
Still, wouldn't it be cool to watch it unfold?