“Human Settlements on Other Planets” still sound like science fiction, but this could become reality in as soon as thirty years. Scientists from all over the world are preparing for the colonisation of Mars in 2050. They are aiming for hundreds of people to work and live on this planet. People started thinking about it ninety years ago, and, in fact, the colonisation of space has already started. There is only one more step to take, before this new era will change our lives.
Possible psychological problems like agoraphobia or stress could be a barrier to the colonisation of Mars. Evidence for this phenomenon already exists: in one of the ‘Skylab’ missions, the crew stopped working, because it had too much to do. They started playing games and did not at work at all, for three days. If something like that happens millions of kilometres away from Earth, it would really be a problem. The whole mission could fail because the astronauts neglect the work they have to do. But not only stress, also isolation could become a real difficulty. The astronauts would be completely alone. They can not just go to a shop and buy something to drink.
The different gravity on Mars could result in an increase in brain-size of the “colonists” – causing humanity to become “two-tiered” in terms of intelligence. Experiments in the Space Stations ISS and Mir, have shown that one effect of lower gravity is that more blood flows into the brain. The long-term effect of this process is an increase in brain-size. The people that are still living on Earth could become “sub-humans” for the Martians. Another effect of the lower gravity would be that the people on Mars would generally become bigger. Long-term astronauts on Mir grew about ten centimetres. On the other hand, the amount of muscles would decrease. One can see the danger of the colonisation of Mars.
There are many opponents of settlements on other planets, because of the huge cost of the project. One journey to Mars would cost about 200 Billion Euros. Why should we spend that much money for the colonisation of the rusty particle of dust in space? There are much more important problems on our planet and the lower gravity could split the human race. We would only create new problems. But it seems as if the adversaries forget that the USA spend every year 330 Billion Euros (2002) in the military. That is more than enough for one Mars Mission.
Adversaries of settlements on other planets say that it would be a mistake to neglect the problems of the earth (like the Greenhouse Effect or overpopulation) by “escaping” to another planet. If the main aim of the humanity would be settlements on other planets, we inevitably would overlook the more important problems on Earth. Every five seconds somebody dies because of hunger. One can see that this situation has to be changed first. That is the reason why 50% of the population in the industrial countries do not support the Mars project. We would only create new problems.
Proponents of settlements on other planets often use the argument that we would have an “insurance” in case of the impact of a meteorite or a nuclear holocaust. No one would survive something that. The solution is Mars. If such a catastrophe would really happen, we would be prepared to leave the earth and shift the centre of our civilisation to Mars. Probably not even thousand people would go there, but enough to ensure the survival of the human race. After sixty years it would be possible to return to Earth through special training programmes. Mars could also become a second Earth through Terraforming. We would have to heat Mars until oceans develop. The temperature would increase from -40ï¿½C to 0ï¿½C. Plants could make photosynthesis and create a breathable atmosphere. Our survival would be ensured.
Humanity would increase its knowledge about the biological development of life on Earth, through experiencing this development “first hand” on Mars. When the solar system was young, the development of Mars and Earth were almost identical. It is very probable that oceans developed on both planets, too. Even life could have developed. If you have two examples for the development of life, it is a lot easier to investigate it. Controversial evidence published NASA scientists six years ago. They said that they found bacteria in the Mars meteor ALH84001. Almost nobody believed them. Nevertheless, this could have been the first proof for the development of life on another planet.
Settlements on other planets would solve the problem of overpopulation. At the moment there are 6.1 Billion people living on Earth. Experts are expecting an increase of 2.5 Billion until 2020. If this tendency continues, in one-hundred years the earth will not be able to manage that anymore. The solution for this problem would be settlements on other planets. The planet Mars could become a new home for 4 Billion human beings. The problem of overpopulation would be solved. But that we are on another planet does not mean that humanity will not grow anymore. The opposite would happen. So we would inevitably have to go to the next planet. One can see the problem of this argument.
The colonisation of other planets could unite mankind because it would have a common aim. If the colonisation of Mars would really start, the whole humanity would be in an euphoric atmosphere. People would understand that all human beings are equal. People would understand that we are one mankind. Wars could end. The leaders of the world’s countries could shake their hand. National differences would loose their importance. The economic force of the earth’s countries would increase and everybody would know the he is a citizen of the world. Nobody knows whether this will really happen. However, it is possible.
For this purpose, the mankind is able to colonise Mars. It should do it. It is the only way to ensure the next generations a great future. There is no argument against the project that could really keep us from settling on other planets. People will fall in, and get their children on Mars. They will laugh about the sentence “‘Settlements on other planets’ still sound like science fiction”. The next evolutionary step would be done.