All the official scenarios for going to Mars involve a multi-person crew, and a return to Earth. But what if we sent just one man, without a plan to return him to our world? That’s an idea dreamed up by former NASA engineer Jim McLane, who says the biggest hurdle on a Mars mission is lifting a spacecraft off the Martian surface and sending it back with three or four astronauts on board.
But wouldn't a one-way voyage be a suicide mission? McLane says a solo astronaut wouldn’t be alone on Mars for long, and could be joined in a couple of years by another volunteer, perhaps of the opposite sex, in an Adam-and-Eve scenario.
Certainly there would need to be some kind of biosphere constructed once the astronaut arrived on the planet, maybe using solar power, fuel cells, or nuclear fuel. The tiny colony could be re-provisioned periodically by supply ships while it slowly built another civilization. Perhaps if the stranded colonists held out long enough, somebody would figure out how to get them back home.