This issue's National Geographic is about Mars exploration. Elon Musk himself is advancing the effort with his company SpaceX. He reportedly said he wants to die on Mars.
I am a lot less interested in Sci Fi these days compares to when I was a child. The idea of colonizing Mars no longer excites me. Suppose our earth is too ruined or too full that some people want to move to Mars? But is our earth really too full?
What if instead of Mars, we create a new colony on some remote and barely inhibited places on Earth? Let's say the South Georgia Island. There are a population of mere 30. With the resources for Mar Exploration it can easily buy them out and put them into some nice apartments in London. Then you have the whole island to do whatever you want.
South Georgia's land mass is unfortunately fairly small. How about we find some places in Alaska? Given the history of manifest destiny, I'd think the United State government will be quite open for people to settle in remote areas in Alaska. Beyond Alaska, there are plenty of land available in Kamchatka, Siberia, etc.
You many protest that these places are barely inhibited because they are terribly harsh for human. Yeah, the sea is ice-locked in the winter (if it is a warm water port Russia definitely won't it give away). But could we trust the SpaceX engineers to figure something out, couldn't we? If they are good enough to send cargo to space they should be good enough to send stuff to the Arctic. Perhaps some places do not have enough water to support a large population. I don't know how do you get water on Mars. But here on earth we have the ocean and we have the technology for desalination. It is costly perhaps, but a proven technology. However horrible is a piece of land on earth, it is really a heaven compares to Mars.
Better still, if the colony does not work out, you can easily back out. Why die on Mars when you can return home?