By Shibika Suresh:
“No matter how vast, how total, the failure of man here on earth, the work of man will be resumed elsewhere. War leaders talk of resuming operations on this front and that, but man’s front embraces the whole universe.”
– Henry Miller, Sunday after the War, 1944.
Aren’t we all tired of being stuck on this cosmic speck with its leaden sky, monotonous ocean and a single moon that is half useless? Just as Rome became too small for the civilization of the Romans, there are people in the world who are of the belief that the future glory of human race lays in the exploration of at least the solar system. After all these years, Man has, in all his capacity, exploited the Earth and its resources to the brink of saturation. There were even myths of the Doomsday, or the day when the world as we know it would come to an end. A human mission to colonise a different planet is an idea that has, since its inception, instilled hopes and raised doubts as well. Nonetheless, such an exploration will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, that anything can be achieved.
On 12th March 2013, the Curiosity rover discovered that the Red Planet, Mars, once had the right conditions for life, with flowing surface water so benign we might drink it. It’s the first habitable environment we know of, other than on Earth. As the first primitive forms of life were emerging here, it now seems possible that life might have been taking hold on Mars, too. More recently, the second man to walk on the moon, from the Apollo mission, Buzz Aldrin has lived up to his legacy of being a spaceman. This legendary astronaut in his new book, ‘Mission to Mars’ has not only talked about setting up human colonies in Mars, but has also outlined it in great detail. There are also plans to send a person from Australia to space next year. During the selection, the budding astronauts will have to undergo a series of sessions which include G-Centrifuge, Zero G Flight, The Astronaut Assault Course among a few with finally being judged on their team-spirit, courage, love for adventure and enthusiasm. The winner would then be granted a seat aboard the Lynx spacecraft, which would be taken more than 100km into space.
Although it’s going to take even more proof to be able to say for sure whether something ever actually lived on Mars, I believe that human exploration and colonization of Mars is imperative, and may also be called as ‘the Second giant leap for mankind’. After all, the Earth is too small and fragile a basket for mankind to keep all its eggs in. Our goal should be to make available for life every place where life is possible.
Today, there are roughly 7 billion inhabitants of the earth. We are all familiar with the fact that such a massive population is difficult to sustain, since the resources needed for such sustenance are limited. This results into a dour hope for future generations. So, it is essential that we find alternate realms of existence before it is too late. Mars is one of the primary candidates for permanent and extensive human colonization, because it is the most hospitable planet in the Solar System other than Earth. Colonizing Mars would be symbolic of technological advancement and human cooperation. We would be able to tap the resources that Mars has to offer, like water and metal. We would be able to access more information about the universe and life, and understand implications of our every action on the universe.
People who view industrialization as a source of the Earth’s troubles can only advocate that we give it up. This is something that we can’t do; it should not even be considered as an option. We can’t support 7 billion people unless we’re industrialized and technologically advanced. So, the idea is not to get rid of industrialization but to move it somewhere else. If we can move it a few thousand miles into space, we still have it, but not on Earth. Earth can then become a world of parks, farms, and wilderness without giving up the benefits of industrialization.
Frank Borman, an Apollo 8 astronaut, said “Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit and I hope we never forget that.” A new space race has begun, and this new race involves the whole human species in a contest against time. The challenge of the great spaces between the worlds is a stupendous one; but if we fail to meet it, the story of our race will be drawing to its close.The solution here is to take over the Martian planet before they do the same to us.