Why Going to Mars Is a Bad Idea . . . (Sorta)

2022-02-14 – Let me start by saying that I hope someone goes to Mars during my lifetime. I’m not leaving the planet anytime soon, but considering the gargantuan task of going to Mars, I’d say that there is some urgency, if I’m going to see it. I had just graduated high school when Neil and Buzz set foot on the Moon. And . . . well, while it was one small step for a man, it remains to be seen whether it was a giant leap for mankind.

I am keenly interested in space exploration. My problem isn’t with the exploration. My problem is with people (like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos) who think that going to Mars is some sort of solution to the problems of mankind.

Diversification of risk is an excellent financial concept (especially if you are rich enough to lose billions and still be a billionare), but it doesn’t quite work in the moral sphere. Going to Mars so we can “afford to lose” an entire planet is not an attractive concept.

Yes, I know. The death star destroyed Alderaan and the Empire went on and the rebels still rebelled. But it was kind of a bad day for the Alderaaneans. (And, in case you don’t know about the Star Wars movies, the stories were fiction. Just sayin’.)

I’m going to shift gears here for a moment.

I’ve been married for 31 years. I loved my wife when we got married. I love her more now. (Awww!)

Something like 20 years ago we were having some problems, but we were fortunate enough to get a fabulous piece of advice. We were told to decide, then and there, whether we really, really wanted to stay together. If so, we needed to put any thought of blowing up the marriage (i.e., divorce) out of our minds and work on having a good relationship. If not, we were advised to start getting divorced right then and there. Fish or cut bait.

Well, since I’ve already told you that we’re still married 20 years later, you know how it turned out. We still have issues, but we’ve figured out ways to deal with them that improve our relationship, not destroy it.

Once we eliminated the exit strategy, we were more motivated to handle things together.

That’s why going to Mars—as an exit strategy—is a bad idea. Nations already have a hard time working with each other. Why make it harder?

It’s not surprising that the folks who are talking about exit strategies are not known for working well with others.

So the question is this: do we want to live together or not. If yes, we need to act like it and work to improve things here on Earth.

If not, well, I guess it’s time to get off this planet.

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