Elon Musk made some rather wild promises at the International Astronautical Congress the other day: his SpaceX company is certainly going to start sending people to Mars by 2024, and in 40 to a century, he will have a million folks living there.
I’ve one big question on this. Why trouble? Mars is a rotten place to live.
You can’t breathe, eat, drink or outdoors go; the soil’s harmful, constant radiation streams in from space, and the common temperature is -60C.
It appears bleak if you ask me rather, but for some social people, The clincher supposed to me would be that messages home would take 15 minutes, and “it might be hard to Skype with anybody”, regarding Ashwin Vasavada of Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory.
But Musk is set to plow on, make us a “multi-planet species” and change Mars into “a really nice spot to be”. I try to keep calm, but this is where I blow a gasket.
We already have somewhere “really nice” to be. I gaze around my garden at the sunflowers, grapes, twittering birds, luscious greenery, and general loveliness and can’t help but wonder why anyone would like to go and go on a freezing, poisonous, giant boulder prone to overwhelming dust storms that might well cock-up the machinery on which their livelihood depends.
There is being curious and adventurous, and there has been overambitious then, verging on the potty.
That Musk produces electric vehicles lovely, warns us of the risks of AI and a killer-robots hands race, and it is sending life-saving battery packages to Puerto Rico, but why diddle about planning for an illusion colonization on Mars for when this world falls the pan?
I know we have a culture throwaway, but why chuck a complete globe because it’s a little exhausting and runs searching for a different one to backup?
You will want to get rid of most our plastic material, Musk if you’re so smart, and mend what we’ve got? Why obsess over SpaceX?
“What I really like about SpaceX,”
says Prof Alan Duffy, of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne,
“is that they make things profitable at every step of the real way.” That must definitely be my answer. D’oh.