I will agree that paying the $38 application fee for a possible one-way trip to Mars is akin to flushing “the money down one of Earth’s many toilets” (C&EN, May 27, page 56). However, the colonization of Mars is not necessarily a futile dream.
One of the unannounced purposes of the Curiosity rover on Mars may be to find an aquifer or aquifers adequate to supply potable drinking water. If such aquifers exist, the whole concept of Mars colonization takes on exciting new potential.
Richard D. Stacy