Is Mars a Definite Future for Us?

Why Mars is at the Forefront of Space

Mars Rover newly engineered by NASA


Mars Rover newly engineered by NASA

Gabriel Johnson, Staff Writer

The idea of moving to Mars is one of the primary concerns regarding space exploration communities. As expected, the motivation for moving to a new planet at one point or another creates discord among opposing viewpoints pertaining to this seemingly impossible task. However, what exactly do we mean when we say “moving” to Mars?

Companies like NASA and China’s Space Program have succeeded in landing rovers on Mars’ surface, and over the recent years have obtained massive amounts of new information and technology. As stated by NASA, the space agency plans on having humans on mars in the 2030’s. When this happens, space agencies have made it clear that a potential goal in mind is to create a livable habitat on Mars, sustaining a population long-term.

Naturally, this decision to spend so much time and money creates controversy and disagreement. Understandably, many don’t think Mars is a good place to inhabit. Despite this, many innovators and scientific figures support the “necessity” to move there at one point, including Stephen Hawking and Buzz Aldrin. The question becomes whether moving to the red planet is in our best interests. 

Many agree to this proposition of inhabitance.  They agree that it is a prerequisite for continuing human life. Hawking sees the opportunity as an obvious choice, saying “If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before” (Jessica Orwig 2015). 

While many question whether the cost of attempting this journey is worthwhile, the situation is not as costly as expected. The yearly cost of all NASA endeavors totals to about $22 billion, being a mere fraction of the total amount of government spending. Mr. Stone, Physics and Engineering teacher from Sutton High backs up this claim; “Although it seems like a large amount of money is going to NASA, the government spending on the company amounts to less than one percent of it. Meanwhile, about twenty percent is spent on healthcare, and eleven percent on the military”. 

 Although this idea is exciting and almost unbelievable, many issues arise with landing on Mars that are often overlooked. For example, years on Mars are far longer than on Earth, with one rotation of the sun being almost double the amount of time to orbit Mars compared to Earth. In the article Can’t Live on Mars by Chris Burns, Nye makes various remarks about the inconsistencies with moving to Mars. “It’s not reasonable because it’s so cold. And there is hardly any water. There’s absolutely no food, and the big thing, I just remind these guys, there’s nothing to breathe.” These criticisms of the matter, and the idea that Mars seems almost impossible to live on, makes the idea begins to sound iffy at best. If our planet has so many problems already, why devote time and energy into moving to another one that isn’t even meant for humanity.

You could also say the same thing about the time and energy devoted to landing on the moon. The main difference is the potential for life, with NASA’s website even stating “Mars had conditions suitable for life in its past. Future exploration could uncover evidence of life”. 

With this said, colonization of Mars is a very real thing. As you read this, NASA, Russia, and private companies like SpaceX are formulating their own plans on approaches. Elon Musk is planning to establish a base on Mars by 2025 with his company. Along with that, the colonization may happen earlier than expected, with a new Dutch program involving 100 participants training and taking a one way trip to Mars to live there. Kirsten Fleming from the NY post describes this goal and its specifics.  “In 2031, a Mars One spaceship will carry four people to the planet for a preliminary 18-month journey, staying in small pods as they attempt to acclimate to the gravity and other ele­ments”. This possibility may become a reality sooner than expected.

The question of whether moving to the Red Planet is worth it in the long run is debatable, and will most likely continue to be a subject of discussion among the scientific community. We can hope that one day it will be achievable to live on another planet, but as for now, we can only wait and see.