What’s so bad about Earth? There’s food, water, bunnies, cake pops, carnivals, Leonardo Dicaprio, and everything else anyone could ever want. Yet for some reason, the Dutch have decided to launch an initiative that aims to put a colony on Mars by 2023. The 6 billion dollar project already has over 78,000 applicants of all ages vying for a spot on the red planet. I’ll admit, when I first heard about this project, a sense of excited flickered in my heart as I began to imagine being part of a generation that witnessed the start of a Martian race. However, when the rational part of my brain sprang to life, I started to second guess my enthusiasm for the next final frontier expedition. Mars One (the project’s title) may look good on the outside but in reality, poses a lot more problems than it would have us believe. On the other hand, many aspects of it could prove beneficial to the human race.
Mars One could restart the space race.
Not to channel my inner Holden Caulfield here but JFK was probably the world’s biggest phony. Like every other woman in the 1950s, I was enamored with the unusually attractive president up until I took a history class last year that exposed his true colors. However, I have always appreciated his “Space Race” determination (even if it was only started in an attempt to one-up Russia). Space is truly one of the most fascinating places in existence. It is an endless pool of darkness that harbors millions of new mysteries just waiting to be discovered. The world’s exploration of space represents our dedication to learning about the universe, and our decision to end that exploration represents our abandonment of that cause. Going to Mars may rekindle the hope that leaving Earth once carried and remind people that we as a species should always strive to achieve a larger goal. Reach for the stars because if you miss, you will fall and land in a Mars colony.
We’d have an extra storage area for humans.
We all know overpopulation is a problem. Humans breed like bunnies nowadays and it’s leaving us with too many mouths to feed and not enough forks to do so. But imagine if we had an extra place to put a chunk of our population? Mars may be half the size of Earth but that’s still 2,000 miles worth of land that could be used to house human beings. I’m not particularly fond of living on a desolate planet away from civilization but if 78,000 individuals have already committed to that sacrifice then I say, let them go. More Earth for us.
There’d be an explosion of culture.
Remember when Earth was created? And all the dinosaurs started wearing I <3 Earth T-Shirts and everyone began writing stories about how happy the grass made them feel? No? Well that’s probably because no one was there to see it. The start of a colony on another planet is more outrageous than anything we have ever known. The moon landing alone spawned an age of science-driven children determined to become astronauts and alien-hunters. Imagine the cultural explosion that could result from the excitement a Mars colony could generate. New science fiction novels. Martian-themed products. The development of pride for a whole new world (and I’m not saying that just to make an Aladdin reference). The very act of settling on Mars would change the planet that everyone left behind.
Mars One would be a media circus.
And yet, it is this very burst of culture that may also make Mars One the absolute worst idea in history. According to the project’s website, the leaders of the initiative “plan to fund [Mars One] by making it the biggest media spectacle in history.” That’s a real quote, you guys. And in case anyone was not aware, the “media spectacle” they’re referring to includes a reality TV show that follows the lives of the first Mars settlers. Are we really that obsessed with reality television that we need to bring another planet into it? Is that really fair to Mars? Plus, the way the Mars One mission description describes the expedition is a little frightening. Mars One wants the “whole world as an audience” so that every step of the project, from the astronaut selection to the initial launch, will be a “televised spectacle” and can create a market for Mars-themed merchandise. Mars One will be the nail in humanity’s materialistic coffin.
Humans would have the chance to play God.
If humankind had a rule book, I’m 99% sure there would be a clause somewhere in there prohibiting the colonization of another planet. Though I myself am not religious, there are many religions that protest the migration of humanity to another floating rock, claiming that we were given this planet for a reason. In some ways, I agree. As far as we know, Earth is the only habitable planet in the universe (for intelligent life, at least). Who are we to push the boundaries that we’ve been confined to since the beginning of time? Maybe there’s a reason we were given one planet. Plus, it doesn’t seem very noble to claim Mars when we’re in the process of destroying the planet we already own. We don’t have the right to play God, nor could we handle it, in my opinion. (Did anyone watch Bruce Almighty? Geez.)
I like to think I’m a bit of a space geek. I may not be able to retain any technical information about astrophysics but I keep an eye on the news in case any new interesting planets should be discovered and I appreciate Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science tweets on occasion. That being said, Mars One both terrifies and excites me, which is why I will deem it a very, very weak HOT. Because as cool as the idea may seem, the ethical implications of it are not up to my standards. What do you all think? Is Mars One HOT or NOT?