COLONIZING MARS- REALITY OR FICTION?
The 21st century is replete with scientific ideas of various forms, among which colonizing Mars is a controversial topic with many people either supporting or opposing it. The recent ongoing NASA mission of the Perseverance rover has further ignited the fantasies. The need of the hour is to know if it is worth terraforming the red planet as our backup planet and what implications it impacts Earth.
At this juncture comes a moral question, why Mars when we need to improve a lot here on Earth? And there are grave issues on Earth, mostly man-made, which need attention, too!
Our ever-expanding population is over-dependent on fossil fuels, thus causing its depletion, which, in turn, is responsible for global warming. Moreover, our prolonged imprudent behaviour towards the environment has deprived living beings of clean water, air, and basic living amenities. As well, we cannot overlook the lurking threat to human existence due to nuclear wars or another global pandemic caused by a simple human error.
Also, there is a small but non-zero chance that Earth could, in any given year, get obliterated by a massive asteroid or comet or a supernova nearby since it is not equipped with technology to evade itself from such a strike.
That is an unending list! So now, this brings us back to our opening question- why should we not invest money to solve these never-ending problems on Earth instead of investing in dreamy ideas of colonizing Mars?
But hold on, there seems to be a different perspective here worth discussing! Apart from man’s innate desire to manipulate technology for selfish ends or his hunger to dominate other creatures, man’s ambition to go to Mars has a few pertinent reasons, too!
Scientific and economic interest, human need to challenge and go ahead, reduction of the population burden on Earth are some reasons for the Mars Mission.
Eminent aerospace engineer and advocate for human exploration of Mars, Robert Zubrin, in The Case for Colonization of Mars, says, “Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency.”
Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to send humans to Mars by 2024, hoping to colonize the planet in less than 10 billion USD. And Musk has long said that humans need to colonize Mars just in case Earth is left uninhabitable due to nuclear wars or an asteroid strike.
After patiently listening to my talks on Mars, my neighbourhood septuagenarian uncle popped a question for which I was least prepared, “So, going to Mars IS a possibility!
There would not be any bed bugs there, right? They have bugged me to the limit, and how I wish we could eliminate all pests from Earth!”
I pulled myself up and advised him to get some pest control work done to solve his bed bug problem forever and explained that Mars was not a solution for this.
And when he wished that all pests be obliterated from Earth, I geared up for my next lecture on the importance of all species in the food chain and the ecosystem, and that would be some other day.
Colonizing Mars is a project for our generation and for the next and the next to come. We are at the threshold of spreading our wings of civilization to a different level.