$1 MILLION (Prize amount to be confirmed. Announcement expected for next year)
The hypothetical colonization of Mars has received interest from public space agencies and private corporations, and has received extensive treatment in science fiction writing, film, and art.
Organizations have proposed plans for a human mission to Mars, the first step towards any colonization effort, but no person has set foot on the planet yet.
However, landers and rovers have successfully explored the planetary surface and delivered information about conditions on the ground. Virtual visits to Mars, using haptic technologies, have been proposed, and may precede any real humans actually landing on the planet.
Reasons for colonizing Mars include pure curiosity, the potential for humans to provide more in-depth observational research than unmanned rovers, economic interest in its resources, and the possibility that the settlement of other planets could decrease the likelihood of human extinction. Difficulties and hazards include radiation exposure during a trip to Mars and on its surface, toxic soil, low gravity, the isolation that accompanies Mars’ distance from Earth, a lack of water, and cold temperatures.
For many martian development advocates mars can become the second house for humanity.