The world has been taken by storm and sits intrigued and wide-eyed by the race to Mars. Private and public organizations have decided to take on this mission and put humans on Mars as soon as possible. Millions of dollars are being spent and scientists and researchers are doing everything they can to develop the necessary technology to make it happen. NASA is having experiments and trial runs done with astronauts in simulated conditions. Everyone seems to be one-track minded when it comes to Mars.
Mars is a Solution
The intrigue of going to live on Mars has a lot to do with the solutions it can offer us, Earthlings. We are fighting climate change, global warming, water shortages and droughts, tropical storms, and more. If Mars could supply us with scarce resources, things would be better. If we could use Mars as a refuge when climate change makes Earth uninhabitable, that is a good option. However, the reality of this is very far away and Mars is a lot smaller than Earth and will not be able to accommodate the 7 billion Earthlings currently eating away our resources.
Mars is an Escape
For people who have experienced the dark side of Earth, Mars is an escape. It offers a beacon of hope for a place where crime, death, politics, etc. will be a distant memory. I’m not so sure that this is a realistic expectation. Conflict, self-gain, greed, etc. are part of human nature and will follow us no matter where we live. If you very carefully handpick the best possible human beings, you may get lucky. However, in the right conditions, anyone can turn into a liar or bad influence.
Mars is an Adventure
Astronauts and scientists are excited about what they will find when they land on Mars. It is an adventure and exploration that can further science and our understanding of the universe. For those people who will live on Mars for the first time, it will be an adventure. It will be difficult and risky, but it will definitely be an adventure. Discovering new things and learning how to live and survive on a new planet will be an amazing experience that few people will get to have. However, if I could put my name up, I just might. We will all die at some point and it would be epic to do so as part of an intergalactic adventure.
Mars is an Opportunity
Mars presents many opportunities for growth and development for Earth. It is a backup for when Earth is no longer ideal for human life. It offers the possibility of useful resources that can be taken to Earth. It offers the possibility of colonizing a new planet and making it habitable by humans. Many of the people working to put us on Mars are doing so to make humans an inter-planetary race.
Once we have conquered Mars, the possibilities become endless. Maybe soon (in a few million years that is) humans will be able to live on Venus or Mercury or Saturn. Who knows where the future is taking us?
What about the human element of it all?
Mars may symbolise a whole bunch of great stuff and NASA and SpaceX may have the physical survival stuff under control, but what about the human element? What about societal rules and norms? What about laws and what is right and wrong? Will it be the same on Mars as it is on Earth? Will we mentally and psychologically be able to survive living on Mars? Will you be able to leave your family behind? These questions make the idea of Mars a little less attractive and a little more complex.
The interesting thing is that we will likely only know the answer to these questions once we actually live on Mars. Sure, the countries working together will come up with ground rules and possibly a constitution of some sort, but I doubt that it will remain intact. As people start to live on this new planet with opportunities and limited social or extra-mural activities, things will have to be adapted. Living one way for several years and then suddenly living almost the opposite type of life will do a number on anyone.
The things people will do to fight boredom or feel less isolated or find the stimulation they need will be different than what we do on Earth. The ethics and socially acceptable norms and behavior will be different. I hope NASA and those guys keep these things in mind. If not, they may end up with a red-colored planet filled with a lot of crazy people.
The ethical dilemmas
Once you start thinking about moving to Mars, you will find yourself asking a whole bunch of ethical questions. What about pregnant women? What about moving children? What if they don’t want to go? What about pets and family that get left behind? There is no way that Mars can accommodate the whole population of Earth. How will the mission managers decide who gets to go and who not? What will be the rights of people living on Mars? Do we just apply Earth laws or do we create new laws to protect people on Mars?
The train of thought gets more and more tangled and more and more complex. So, besides the physical technology and sustainability issues, the issues surrounding humanity and human rights represent a whole big issue by itself. Luckily, the world has at least a few centuries to figure it out while Mars is being made into a habitable planet.
Living on Mars will happen sometime in the future. This is my rambling and babbling opinions. I would like to know what your views and opinions are. So, send us an email and tell us what you think. Maybe we can solve some issues for NASA on the human front.