The Martian Solution
The Boston Marathon bombing. The fertilizer plant explosion. The acrimonious end of the gun control debate. This has been, without a doubt, a bad week. Was it bad enough to make anyone consider a move to Mars, though?
Earlier this week, one of my friends post a link to this article, which offers anyone interested the opportunity to be a part of the first colony of humans on Mars, on Facebook. At first glance, it looks like an interesting proposition. However, any potential astronauts should note that there will be no return flights offered; once you are on Mars, you are there for the foreseeable future. I have days when I wish I could be a hermit, but permanent, irrevocable removal from my home planet seems extreme.
And what if you don’t get along with the other space pioneers? What if you lose your mind? What if someone else in the group does? There’s something to be said for the way England colonized Australia — at least everyone knew going in that they shouldn’t blindly trust the exiled prisoner next to them.
I know Arizona has some extreme weather — summers can top out in the 120s — but I don’t think that even compares with the average temperature of Mars — a hell-freezing 80 below. The barren landscapes may be similar, but I don’t think the red planet would ever feel like home.
What sort of person would be willing to leave all of their friends and family behind to live with strangers in a pod set down in a hostile environment? Shouldn’t their mere interest in such a life be reason to psychologically disqualify them?
Here’s my thought: let’s give anyone currently awaiting execution the option to get on that one-way flight instead. If they have survived prison, at least they have a fighting chance at surviving on Mars.