We’ve heard a lot about going to Mars and trying to put man (that’s as in Human not as in the sex for the whiners) there and even colonize the planet but should we?
There really has been so much in the Press about how Elon Musk aims to colonize, or at least have man on Mars. Not only that we have Stephen Hawking saying Earth only has another 1000 years and we should be looking for another planet to colonize. I don’t know if he suggests “Mars” colonization or whether he means sending man off to other Galaxies to hunt for a new ‘living Earth-like Planet”.
Should we focus on Mars?
As we stand, at this time, forget about Hawking’s 1000 year’s doom and gloom forecast, that’s more than ten generations off in the future. Should we be aiming for the next planet away from us and try and get over major hurdles including distance and technological limitations before we can even think about going there and not only that, it is rather inhospitable with wind storms and a thin atmosphere.
Surely we would have to look at seeding the planet and trying to bring it to life before we can even get there, then there are unknown factors like how we as a race would cope with being in space for a long time, the fact that we would have to overcome issues of pregnancy and how embryo’s and eventually children would develope.
How about going to Moon?
This is a little closer to home, it has the advantage that we would have to look at developing the whole ecosystem, we would have similar hurdles and the advantage of the environment being even more difficult because there is zero atmosphere but with the big advantage that it is nearer, lower costs and a great testbed and launch pad for any mission to Mars.
Imagine a crisis on Mars, imagine the time that it takes just for a radio transmission to get from Mars to the Earth with our current technology! It’s almost 14 minutes, a lot can happen in 14 minutes and a small crisis can become a disaster in that time. Is this not the case against a manned mission to mars not being the best idea with the technology we have.
On the other hand it takes less than 2 seconds for the same signal to reach the moon. For a minor crisis that requires just advisement it is only a tiny delay in comparison.
Even then, maybe we should be developing something that can be adapted for more distance.
Let’s start with a space station?
No, no, no, I’m not talking about a Star Wars style Death Star! Why don’t we look at developing an orbiting satellite with rotating Taurus’s (Tauri?) to give some semblance of gravity. As experience grows we could extend it’s rotation around the Earth, maybe giving it a less ’round’ orbit is it has a perigee and apogee so that Man can get experience of being further away and experience growing a simple food source in space.
The space station could be a launch pad for interplanetary travel allowing the building of spacecraft that are larger and bulkier that we could ever launch from Earth.
Not only would this allow us to learn about the bearing of children in space and making sure that they develop normally. Not only that, by gaining the ability to move the orbit of the space station we could end up with a viable space colony that could be shifted to another planet. It would possibly take many years to achieve this but as a colony that is self contained it could do this without impact allowing generations to come and go during the transit.
The other advantage of this is that if Stephen Hawking is correct and the planet has just one thousand years before we become exctinct then this would be a perfect solution. We could learn about terraforming etc and rather than go hunting for another earth like planet we would be able to wait for the planet to recover or have the ability to create a living planet from Mars. Alternatively the people of Earth could end up being like Space Travellers who wander the Galaxy looking for a home or just exploring.