I found myself in an interesting conversation with some of the boys yesterday about Mars.
Perhaps you’ve heard about a company called Mars One, a not for profit organization “with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars”. More likely you’ve heard of SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk, who in a company-wide email stated SpaceX’s goal was to establish a human colony on Mars (per the fantastic new biography on Musk by Ashlee Vance). Maybe you’ve heard the term “terraforming”, a process by which humans seek to make other planets inhabitable.
This Mars colonization movement is gaining some buzz in the news, and the boys were split on whether this movement is “good” or “bad”. The argument was not dissimilar, said one of the boys, to a conversation between Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey in the 1997 movie Contact – that’s not it, but it’s very funny. Anyways, the two sides are captured in debate.org’s “Should humans attempt to colonize space?”:
Our resources are finite. Many sources for the raw goods we need lay currently just out of reach in near space. Geologic statistics already show that some of our resources will only be available through recycling within 40 years because all viable sources on earth will be depleted. For some of these we have likely already waited too late. Establishing a human presence off world is becoming imperative
Terraforming to livable levels on a planetary body (Mars) or moon level will not be realized before we make our own planet uninhabitable unless drastic lifestyle changes are embraced. Wake up people.
While both sides are equally valid, the fact remains that you can’t stop people from trying to establish a colony on Mars. Given improving technology and the rising interest in Mars colonization, I think there will be boys on Mars in my lifetime.
And if there is an opportunity, that means the boys have a chance to make history: be some of the first settlers on Mars. Do we seize the opportunity?