To Mars or not to Mars?

Today I saw some cool posters that had been created for SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private rocket and spaceship building company (is there anything this man isn’t doing with tech!) and it got me thinking. Elon is planning at some point to ship a bunch of supplies, technology and people up to the red planet in order to colonise it, similar to what Mars One is keen to do – though forgive me if I am a bit hazy on the details – I haven’t been following this that closely.

What fascinates me is our long history of living in fear of Martian creatures and our longstanding obsession with this planet. HG Wells surmised that extra-terrestrial life lived beneath its surface, close to the planet’s core where it was still warm, and looked upon our own blue planet with envy. Countless stories have told us that aggressive Martian’s will attack any human visitors to their red planet (though that’s a pretty fair call as look what happens to other aliens when they visit our planet – E.T, Starman, the poor aliens from District 9 etc. I mean these films are not a great advertisement for inter-planetary relations) and yet we have never visited out closest planetary neighbour except by living vicariously through rovers and pods.

Human beings are still in the very early stages of exploration, and while Doctor Who promises that eventually human kind will spread throughout the Universe, that’s not going to happen for, let’s face reality, at least 50 - 100 years from now (I mean we still don’t have our flying cars or hoverboards damn it and they were supposed to be available this year!). So are we rushing it? Mars One seems ill-prepared at best, and while Elon might own a few rocket ships and have a ton of cash up his silky sleeves, there is a huge difference between having the tools and being able to apply them, and sustain life! These are massive considerations, not to mention that if we have learned anything from Doctor Who it’s that we should be very wary of any water found on Mars…. so I’d like to see a full environmental report before I consider picking up sticks and getting my ass to Mars. That being said though, a quick two week holiday there would be grand.