The sky is illuminated by the sun, only the size of our moon this far out. The red dust swirls with a gust of wind and your movements are slowed by the weight of your spacesuit. Your progress across the barren desert toward the compound that houses the plants you and your companions need to survive is slow but by now, four months into your new life, you have become used to it. Just eleven months ago you left Earth and started your journey toward what is now your home, the red planet of our solar system, Mars. The year is 2027 and you can’t believe you arrived here at last.
Colonizing Mars used to seem like a distant far off memory, but according to Alana Semuels, writer for the Atlantic, some commercial space companies like “Elon Musk’s SpaceX” and “Virgin Galactic” are already planning missions to Mars or just transient flights barely out of the Earth’s atmosphere. They hope to turn Mars humanities second home, and the only African American finalist in the Mars One competition, Kenya Armbrister, believes colonizing Mars might end prejudice and create a society “where people are truly equal.
On the other hand Semuels, is thinking of a darker reality that will lead humans to Mars. She believes humanity should prepare for “when Earth is destroyed by war or rising seas or a wayward asteroid” in order to perpetuate the existence of the human race. No matter the reasons, it seems as though humanity’s future lies in the stars. But how could we possibly reach them, modern day space travel doesn’t even reach the moon, and we still don’t know how long humans can live in zero-gravity without permanent, adverse effects.
And how might humans survive under a different sun with lashes of uncontained radiation that are common on Mars. This research will analyze the reasoning and possibilities of humanity colonizing Mars as well as the changes society might undergo having a foothold in two different planets in order to answer the questions, why do humans feel the need to colonize Mars? And how might its colonization affect our society? Why Humanity Should Move to the Red Planet Firstly, why should humanity leave their cradle of comfort and venture to places they don’t know when they already thrive here on Earth.
Well, Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, believes that inevitable scientific advances and the “challenges of terraforming other worlds” is what will draw humanity to Mars and beyond. Which is certainly likely as the chance to explore where no one else had ever set foot and the advances humanity had made is what led to the Apollo missions and the international space station. But humanity has sat on the technology to travel to Mars for a long time, why would that motivate them, humanity needs a greater shove.
Perhaps that shove might come from wanting to generate a better society. Kenya Armbrister, a humanitarian, has given up her normal life on the chance that she could be one of the few picked to colonize Mars with the new Mars One mission. Armbrister believes that the colonization of Mars is “ the next step for humanity” and that it might create a society “where people are truly equal. ” Even though a society of people who are all equal seems like a long shot, perhaps for a lot it is enough to risk their lives for.
And if the wonder of a whole new planet and equal society is not enough for you perhaps the continuation of the whole human race is what will motivate you to support a mission to Mars. Alana Semuels, writer for the Atlantic and graduate of Harvard University, believes that our time on Earth is numbered and we should prepare for the worst by perpetuating humanity’s existence on Mars. Anyone of these reasons may be what leads humanity to Mars, but could it not be a far simpler reason?
Humans contain a natural curiosity for anything they don’t understand, why would this not lead humanity to Mars. Yes, we see pictures of Mars all the time from out Mars rovers, but pictures don’t capture the sound of the wind as it whips through valleys, or the smell of the dirt you walk in. Would our curiosity not be what leads us to colonize Mars and the stars beyond? How Might We Reach Mars Of course the toughest challenge for humanities rise to the stars will not be getting volunteers, but actually managing the journey.
Reaching Mars by rocket is arduous, the timing of the launch must be perfect so that Earth and Mars are at their closest distances and the journey itself will take several months. Frank Stratford, the CEO of MarsDrive and who writes often about solutions to commercial space travel, believes that independent companies owned by “wealthy entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson” not governments are those that will make the colonization of Mars a reality. Zubrin hopes that new satellite technology will pave the way for “a more economical” form of space travel, so that Mars may become humanities second home.
It is obvious that a manned mission to Mars will be expensive and will have to undergo many years of preparation, but, perhaps, if larger countries such as the United States, China , the United Kingdom, and Russia were to each put a little bit into the project to Mars it may be able to be achieved in the next decade. How Mars Might Change Us Mars is another planet. It has a different atmosphere and a different gravity. Humans have evolved specially to live on Earth, it is unavoidable the Mars will change the way humans there will have to live.
Humans on Mars will have to live in pressurized compounds, wear spacesuits to leave their compounds, and rely on food and water imported from Earth. Alana Semuels however, believes that humanity’s change will be deeper than just getting used to spacesuits and pressurized compounds. She believes that humans on Mars might “evolve, eventually becoming a different species,” in order to adapt to Mars’s different gravity and atmosphere. Dr. Robert Zubrin agrees saying that Mars has resources to create a “new branch of human civilization” and that humans might be able to terraform Mars so that they can live more comfortably there.
At the very least it is obvious that human life on Mars will be much different than life on Earth. Not only will future colonists have to be concerned with the obvious; food, water, oxygen, they will also have to worry about exposure to radiation from the sun. Mars has a significantly smaller magnetic field than Earth does, so the red planet is constantly bombarded with radiation from the sun. Astronauts on Mars will have to work their schedules around the sun to avoid being blasted and killed by solar radiation.
And no matter how much Mars may change them, colonists on Mars will always have their roots back on Earth. Conclusion Overall the colonization of Mars will be like climbing Mt. Everest with barely any climbing experience. Though it seems as though a Martian colony is not too far away on the horizon of history as many entrepreneurs have seen the potential Mars has as an economic resource and as the centerpiece of a large change in society, and many others have thought it over and decided that the colonization of Mars is worth all the risks and changes it will inevitably bring.
The reasons for wanting the colonization of Mars are very diverse, ranging from changing society completely to the perpetuation of the human race in case of a mass extinction event. Not only will the colonization of Mars cost Millions if not Billions of dollars, we do not know if the colonists will be able to survive on Mars. Even if they do survive it is likely they will be forever changed, weather by society or by their whole species. Thusly the colonization of Mars will be a major event in mannkinds history, as it will mark a large change in society and in the evolution of the human species.