There has always been a fascination with life outside the cosy realms of Earth. Mars, the red planet in particular is one that has been immortalised in science fiction. We like to imagine that Martians could come over to visit, or that humans could even hop over there to live.
Bizarrely, the latter is a theory that is gaining real traction, and it looks as though we might actually see humans landing on Mars in our lifetime.
This plan is far from safe, and will be extremely costly. So it begs the obvious question…..why?
Simple curiosity and exploration aren’t really good enough reasons to send people on a one way trip to the unknown (yep, a one way trip!). While we do know that the growing population on our planet is leading to overcrowding here on Earth, that isn’t it either.
The actual motivation behind wanting to explore Mars and assess it’s potential for supporting Earth-life is to increase the chances of human survival in the case of an enormous disaster on our humble abode. That could be anything from movie style armageddon, a gigantic meteor crash landing or even the impact of our own planet-devastating actions, accumulating over time.
There is a very valid reason for worrying about this. We are extremely vulnerable in our Universe, balancing precariously on a spinning rock while it circles an enormous ball of fire. With space junk and rocks constantly diving at us, plus lava bubbling up from within, knocking the shaky plates all over the place, we are at the mercy of many elements that are entirely outside of our control.
In addition, the very fact that we evolved at all is a biological miracle. It has taken millennia of tiny mutations to bring us to this point of intelligence, and it is certainly worth devising a contingency plan in order to protect the hard earned knowledge that we have developed over hundreds of years, thanks to countless individuals.
So why have we chosen Mars? There are some similarities between Mars and Earth, which make it a potential candidate for human exodus. It is the most hospitable alternative to Earth in our solar system, and uses the least energy per mass unit to reach than most planets (besides venus).
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