Our Future Depends on the Exploration of Mars
Published: Monday, September 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 30, 2013 13:09
When I was in high school, I learned a poem named “The Lazy One” written by the renowned Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. I do not know whether you readers have read this poem, but in very light-hearted and a satirical way it tells about the futility of space exploration and humans trying to “spoil” the other planets without understanding how beautiful and fulfilling our earth is.
Neruda ends this poem by expressing the words “I do not want to change my planet.” I loved this poem from the first time I read it and I was asking myself why the heck I ever want to or need to change my planet.
The memory of this poem came back to me as I learned about the Mars One project. As many of you may already know, a Dutch-based company named “Stichting Mars One” along with many other agencies have organized a one way trip to Mars with the purpose of establishing permanent settlement of human beings in Mars by the year of 2023. The company states that this project is possible with the existing human technology. Before the settlement “a demonstration mission, communication satellites, two rovers and several cargo missions” will be sent Mars. According to Mars One official website, more than 78,000 people have registered for the selection program in this mission and among them are some influential people like Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman ever to go into space.
This relentless response that people have shown to this project overwhelms me and simultaneously make me understand the reason why it is that so. Mars is an unexplored word, and humans always had ambitions to explore new environments. On the other hand, humans in general on this earth have used and are using resources in an unsustainable manner. The world population in 2050 according to projections recently issued by the United Nations will reach 8.9 billion. Thus Mars exploration makes sense in both scientific, economic and demographic terms. If you want to look at this in an entirely positive way, Mars exploration might help people here on earth to develop new technologies and it may help us to find answers for the climate change, or energy deficiency.
Going back to Neruda’s poem, I feel that the circumstances have changed, the earth has changed, and the human greed and human yearning for exploration have excelled. Whether I like it or not the future of humanity depends on Mars and other planetary exploration and I do envision our daughters and sons living in Mars in the future. Unlike Neruda I do not want make fun of people who are exploring new worlds. But I do want to go back to a place where I want to be alone and lazy and think about my beautiful planet and get lost in the beauty.
Samantha is a senior majoring in journalism.