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Mandy Fisher

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The colonization of Mars vs. solving the problems at home

I am a space advocate and sci fi junkie. I look at the night sky like a teenage boy peeks at Playboy. The curiosity and wonder within me burns as red as that elusive rocky world next door.... And now, in this glorious age of technology, the dreams of Kim Stanley Robinson and geeks world round is finally becomming a reality. The colonization of Mars is just around the corner, and although many are thrilled, some are hesitant and even sour about the prospect. An argument aganist a human-occupied Mars is based on the belief that Earth has far too many problems, that are far more urgent and necessary to address, then the satisfication of curious scientists and hopeful investors. So, what do you think? Shall humanity step beyond our watery world and onto a rusty alien desert, or should we focus our efforts on Earth and find solutions to our dire issues before considering such a endeavor?

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    Aug 8 2013: This is like the question "should I clean up my house, do dishes, laundry, and other chores or should I go downhill skiing?"

    The first is a mundane necessity. The second is fun, but expensive and potentially dangerous.

    "There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens"
    • Aug 8 2013: "should I clean up my house, do dishes, laundry, and other chores or "

      should I work on solving a problem that will not only take us to another world, but create new technology that could make my mundane life better here on Earth?
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        Aug 8 2013: This is a good point. Often these endeavors lead to development of technologies quite useful here on earth. It's hard to imagine our life today without GPS, satellite imagery, and satellite communications. And this all started with the proverbial "rocket science" and sending objects up into the orbit. As Einstein said, "If we knew what we are doing, it would not be called 'research'."

        I could compare Mars research to the Columbus expeditions. The goal was to find a way to Asia, but it lead to something altogether different. Certainly, there is a thrill in this process of discovery. If not for these endeavors, we would still live in the trees or, at best, herd goats. Herding goats provides meat, milk, and skins. Why would one want to get on a back of a horse and take off to unknown and dangerous places?
        • Aug 8 2013: I believe that thrill of discovery is in our DNA and drives us. Sure, there will always be some curmudgeon yelling "Get off my lawn!" sometimes the gene skips a generation or two... but all in all we want to know what is over that next hill...
        • Aug 9 2013: Actually, all those satellite derived technologies came not from space exploration, but were originally designed for military use.
          Humanity's very first vehicle which left the atmosphere came in the form of the ballistic missile, Germany's V2 rocket. Once the US and Russians figured out how to miniaturize a nuclear weapon enough to fit on top of such a ballistic missile, the technology became the heart of the cold war.
          Since the launch of Sputnik up until today, launching a satellite is essentially a nations' way of saying "we can build a ballistic missile that can land anywhere on earth".

          Space exploration has always been a superpower's way of showing off their wealth and technological prowess. Practical application has always been secondary, and frankly, nowhere near enough to compensate for the exorbitant price tag (which could be simply been used to fund more conventional research).
          Military R&D is the same for that matter, but it at least comes with the practical benefit of strengthening one's armed forces. Until we figure out how to mine asteroids, space is just for showing off.
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        Aug 9 2013: "A bear went over the mountain to see what he could see
        Another side of the mountain is all that he could see."

        There is boredom in novelty as well. For example, new gadgets don't excite me any more. This is my inner Eeyore speaking. The previous post was from my inner Tigger :-)

        It seems to be not about what's over that hill, but about us - can we get to the top of that next hill and to the top of the hill behind that next hill? The result seems to be not as important as the process and the ability to get there.
        • Aug 9 2013: Yes! It is the journey, not the destination that will define us.
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        Aug 10 2013: That thrill in your DNA can be repudiated by any geneticist. We prefer the known and the safe. That's a basic fact.

        If you find life on Earth mundane, then the colonization of Mars is the least of your worries.

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