I have recently been following the billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s interests on YouTube. He fully intends to direct his SpaceX enterprise towards setting up a manned community on Mars in the not too distant future in order to ensure that, if and when some life threatening disaster strikes earth that could send humanity (if it survives at all) back into the Dark Ages – as many now believe has happened before – there will be a body of intelligent human life sufficiently far away to be unaffected and therefore able to return to the planet and ensure that those new Dark Ages are not as prolonged as the last ones.
Musk says that his Mars spaceship is already in build, although I doubt that it would be possible to build a ship capable of getting to Mars from an Earth launch. IMHO it would have to be built either in space itself or on the Moon, using materials collected there for that purpose.
I go into some detail about my concept in my latest book Time Marches On 4 – Escape to Mars (available in e-book formats on Amazon Kindle). In my book I outline what I think might well be the cause for such an evacuation but project it much further into the future than Musk suggests.
I also give my escapees the benefit of important technology developments that Musk predicts but which will not be functional in any practical and cost-effective form for many years yet. To launch such a project before that technology is up and running would be too risky by far.
Selecting, training and preparing such an escape community will take far longer than he seems to think. To be a worthwhile reserve community will take far more than bravery and the acceptance of the strong risk of death or disastrous failure. It will need far more than a simple call for volunteers prepared to risk all.