December 3rd, 2014
Yes, this mission to Mars (called Mars One) is extremely risky, and it may indeed not be very well planned in terms of long-term survival in a cluster of pods on a dusty planet some 8 months’ travel from Earth – one way.
Even so, I say do it anyway.
Even if Mars One does happen to fail, in any number of ways, we still shouldn’t be off-put by it, and simply keep on trying.
Why? Mass extinction.
The only dinosaur line that happened to survive the colossal asteroid impact event that took place 65 million years ago were the birds, and that was because the ones that survived were as big as house cats. Being bigger than house cats ourselves, we humans may not be so lucky if such a cataclism occurs again in our near future.
That’s if we don’t try to extinguish ourselves first.
Any sort of permanent human colony outside of Earth could serve to prevent what happened to the dinosaurs from happening to us.
It so happens that infamous scientist Stephen Hawking is of the same mentality:
(important part is from 1:00:00 to 1:10:00)
So, with all that being said, what ‘quick fixes’ could we undertake to stave off potential extinction in the near future?
First and foremost, there’s still the International Space Station. It is currently the closest thing we have to a permanent colony outside of Earth, and astronauts can regularly spend months on end up there. I imagine it wouldn’t take much further modification to make it self-sustaining – especially with one, or more, of these nifty, little, donut-shaped things on-board.
There’s Mars One , of course. They hope to send the first, brave humans to the Red Planet by 2023.
There’s also an even larger initiative that was started up not too long ago by a team of really smart people called the ‘100 Year Starship’. The main objective is to build a starship capable of travelling to Ross 248 (248th star in the Ross catalog of stars), only 10.3 lightyears away (it takes light 10.3 years to travel from Ross to Earth), by the year 2100, and have the trip last only 100 years. An even bolder objective by this team of ambitious scientists is to be able to build a starship in the year 2020 capable of taking humans outside our Solar System. Think about that: in less than a decade, we could be sending the first humans into interstellar space. Isn’t that amazing?
Simply put: Some of us need to get off this planet, and live somewhere else. These are just temporary, but necessary initiatives to put some of our ‘eggs’ into different baskets – so to speak.
Ultimately, as Dr. Hawking has noted (in the video above), we will need to eventually start colonising whole other worlds beyond our Solar System. Ultimately, that is how we will stave off extinction for good.
We may even become better people as a result.
mass extinctions on earth causes, current mass extinction event, mars settlement 2023, mars one project nederland