For the Record: I Don’t Want Us To Go To Mars
It occurred to me the other day that, because I so often talk about terraforming Mars, many of you may think I want us to go there. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I do not want it. But I think it is the only option left open to us. I believe Mars is the only hope we have of survival.
Where do you think climate change is going to end? Hopefully you are not in the list of those who still cling to the belief climate change is a myth. The short-term thinkers who have long held that position are not talkable to. They know best. They need not listen. They will not listen.They have their own agenda. One aimed at their own well-being in the next twenty or thirty years. But being a climate denier is not the only mistake we can make here.
Twenty or thirty years has always, in the past, been plenty of lead time to address any problem, so I really can’t blame those who do so for thinking only short term. And thirty years is very short term. But they are just being selfish, now. Thirty years into the future, and individual well-being for any length of time, are no longer the most important things to consider.
One of the things which I commonly encounter, and always find outlandish, is the belief that all life on Earth is not, in the least, threatened. Something will survive, no matter how much climate changes. Humanity may be threatened, but not lie itself. That is the most widely held belief, even–perhaps most notably–amongst the scientific community. Nonetheless, I find it ridiculous.
There are many more known planets which are sterile than there are lightly occupied planets. In fact, there are no known lightly occupied planets. The reason, although seldom acknowledged, is simple: It is far easier for nature to produce sterile planets than lightly occupied planets. If you doubt that, just look around.
“But, … But . . .” you sputter. We all know about extremophiles. “Life is tough” we say over and over to ourselves as if that countered our ability to count. Within just our own solar system, which is really the only place we know the numbers, the ratio of places where life exists to places which are sterile is smaller than 1 to about 100. This considers all moons. It also assumes all are, as we now believe, lifeless. The most common means of making them so is just the absence of a breathable atmosphere. That’s easily accomplished–if you are nature.
When you play around with climate, the end result of sterility for the whole planet has to be considered a very likely outcome.
What are the implicationS? Perhaps most importantly, first and foremost, is that “we” has to be redefined. Earth-bsed life being threatened puts us in the same boat with the jellyfish. When I say “we aren’t going to make it, I mean none of us; not the humans, not the invertebrates, not even the cockroaches. No plants. No microbes. We are not going to make it here on Earth. We have to get off this planet.
Space, to me, is not an arena to be explored. It is a possible place where we, in the sense introduced in the preceding paragraph, may be saved.
Most of what I advocate stems from this observation. We are not going to make it. We’ve got to get off. I’ve spent several years examining the implications, nuances, and ramifications. No one is listening. Why should they?
If the only suggestion I have is to send something–not even ourselves–to another planet, why should anyone take me seriously. My answers for that question would take more space than I have here. Or at least so I think.