Colonisation of Mars

In 1969, a new era started in space-observation. Two men landed on the Moon’s surface and left their footprints there. 41 years have passed since the last manned Moon mission and I wonder what it was it like to see the broadcast on TV or read the newspapers at the time and I believe that my generation might experience the same feeling when humans travel to Mars.

Conquering the Red Planet would definitely be the greatest achievement of humanity. We would become a multi-planetary species, and science-fiction would turn into reality. But is it as good as it sounds? Let’s say humans will have the technology to reach Mars, plant bases, solve the problem of oxygen and water supply and have the ability to safely return astronauts to Earth. Sounds incredibly awesome. However, we would still have a “few” problems. Mars has a thinner atmosphere than the Earth, and it allows lethal radiations to reach its surface. The Earth’s ozone layer protects us from these killer rays but our body would suffer irreversible damages on Mars. Also, the gravity there is only about 38% of the gravity on the Earth. This does not only mean that we can do bunny hops on Mars, but our muscles and sinews would lose their strength and we would become weak and fragile. Suppose that with genetic engineering, we will be able to create super humans and their body would be flexible and could adapt to Mars conditions. So we have a safe base, enough supply for all needs, suitable astronauts and naturally, eligible technology. But would it still worth colonising Mars?

NASA estimates the cost of transporting humans to Mars and back around $100 billion. This is a staggeringly huge amount of money. Note, that this amount does not even include the budget of a planned colonisation. Maybe we would find new minerals, water under the surface or even new forms of life, but in my opinion it would be a smarter decision to spend this money to save the Earth rather than to find a new habitable planet. Earth is our unthinkably valuable gift. Look around, we have have the perfect conditions in all aspects. Matchless environment, marvellous animals and all of our needs in natural form. We should aim to reverse the damage we caused so far. Who guarantees that humans would not continue the catastrophic behaviour on Mars?

I much admire Elon Musk whose dream is to colonise Mars, but first we should heal the Earth and only then just think about a Type II civilization* If this happened in my lifetime, I would gladly become one of the first explorers on Mars.

Elon Musk's dream

Type I civilization: also called a planetary civilization—can use and store all of the energy which reaches its planet from its parent star.
Type II civilization: also called a stellar civilization—can harness the total energy of its planet's parent star (the most popular hypothetical concept being the Dyson sphere—a device which would encompass the entire star and transfer its energy to the planet(s)).
Type III civilization: also called a galactic civilization—can control energy on the scale of its entire host galaxy.