If privately funded excursions to Mars become common, the planet could become the new lawless frontier, as adventurers stake claims to land and minerals before official government expeditions arrive. This is bound to happen if the current trend continues. Governments are trying to avoid putting money into space exploration and private business is picking up the slack.
“If they were governmental or international (expeditions)?restraint might be feasible,” says Sir Martin Rees of the Institute of Astronomy. “On the other hand, if the explorers were privately funded adventurers of free-enterprise, even anarchic disposition, the Wild West model would be more likely to prevail.”
As research progresses, a trip to Mars will become easier and cheaper. There are even plans for a ?space elevator? that could take people from the Earth to a satellite which would act as a kind of flight hub in space. They could then fly to further destinations from there.
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