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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 10 2013: From my perspective, we have to first make sure everyone on earth has the things that thinkers like Maslow emphasized as being essential for the basic health and welfare of human beings. These are things like consistent access to nutritious food, clean water, warmth, human companionship, safety, etc. Far too many people do not have those things & this is wrong, especially considering that such things would not be expensive or difficult to provide.

    Next we'd need to make sure that everyone has access to comprehensive and engaging education, and remove any / all barriers to learning (socio-economic, physical, physiological, emotional, etc.). Far too many young people, even in developed countries, don't have what you clearly have had in your life--parents interested in education and a supportive educational atmosphere. Far too many kids grow up in the world's inner city areas and can only see a life of drugs and gangs in their futures. 25 million US school-age children can't read, as is true for 1 in 5 American adults. Reading ability predicts future success more than any other skill, dooming these people to poverty.

    I grew up looking at the stars (& Playboy), built a star drive for my telescope, and dreamed of being an astronaut. My father was interested in everything and provided me with all the opportunity I needed to be able to learn & grow.

    My point is basically that before we spend a trillion dollars to send a favored few to Mars, we should first make it possible for ALL children and adults to be able to dream like you and I have. Even though I was glued to the TV set during the Apollo Moon Landings and Shuttle Missions, there were millions of people on earth who were much more worried about their next meal than watching a few very privileged people do things that did not change their reality at all.

    We can have a world of 'enough' for everyone, but first we must care enough to act responsibly--so one day everyone can dream...

    Take care, Prof. Schneider

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