Why Should We Colonize Mars?
Many people wonder why Mars Colonization is such a big deal. There are so many issues here on Earth: war, climate change, global hunger, poverty. What's the point of expanding onto other planets when we can't even fix our own? This is a perfectly reasonable question to ask -- there are tons of things that we should be doing on Earth that we aren't! However, there are also many reasons why settling Mars would not only make sense, but also greatly benefit society back on Earth.
It will help us develop new technology that can be used to fix Earth.
If we need to power an entire colony on Mars with no oil and gas, we will have to make renewable energy resources cheaper, more efficient, and easier to deploy. If we need to have a reliable food supply on Mars, we will have to grow and harvest huge amounts of food using very limited resources. If we need to heal sick people without waiting for supplies to arrive from Earth, we will have to make huge breakthroughs in medicine, antivirals, and stem cell therapies. And if we eventually want to be able to breathe Martian air, we will have to solve carbon capture and sequester tremendous amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
All of these issues badly need to be solved on Earth, but they are currently problems that we are reacting to. As humanity progressed over thousands of years, many systems were put in place solely to prevent change from happening too quickly. In today's society, there are numerous large entrenched corporations who actually benefit from the status quo staying the same. Over time change does still happen but it is inherently slow. There will always be resistance.
Looking at these problems through the lens of Mars Colonization changes our search for solutions from being reactive to being proactive. There is no momentum against investing in solar energy on Mars because there are no oil companies on Mars. (And no oil!) Solar is the only option we will ever have, and it must work in order for us to survive. This will incentivize innovation in a way that is impossible to replicate on Earth, and drive discoveries in the fields of energy, medicine, robotics, agriculture, and environmental engineering. Breakthroughs in any of these areas can immediately be applied back to efforts on Earth to support climate change mitigation, food production, decarbonization, and more.
In fact, many technological breakthroughs have already happened because of research into space exploration! NASA funding is the reason that we have camera phones, wireless headphones, CAT scans, athletic shoes, memory foam mattresses, and plenty of other items we use in our daily life. The more money we spend to develop new technologies that prepare humanity for space exploration, the more we can expect to reap the rewards as a society.
It will inspire the entire world.
Nothing is more inspiring than a group of people banding together to achieve a common goal. And no goal is more noble than ensuring that humanity expands and survives on another planet. The mission to colonize Mars will bring together people of all countries, ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds. It will be the largest-scale, most expensive, and most significant mission in all of human history. It will lead to generations of young scientists, engineers, artists, philosophers, and explorers in every country on Earth. And it could very well be the singular event that unites the entire human race behind the same goal. Ultimately, we are all citizens of the same pale blue dot.
From a motivational perspective the issues we need to solve are huge problems that would allow a single individual to, quite literally, change the world. This will attract the smartest minds who want to make the most outsized impact they can, which will then inspire even more people to move into these fields. This is the flywheel effect we need to survive as a society. For this reason, we believe that the most impactful thing you can do as an individual to ensure the future of humans here on the Earth is to support the colonization of Mars.
It gives humanity a second point of failure.
We humans live in a precarious spot. We have evolved over tens of thousands of years to get to this point and have made it thus far relatively unscathed. At any moment though, things could change. A rogue asteroid could slam into Earth. Nuclear war could break out tomorrow. Or we could just be slowly baked by climate change over the next century. On a long enough timescale an extinction event will eventually occur. If we are forever confined to Earth then humanity will be wiped out. However, if we can get a million people on Mars, then we have a chance. This is obviously worth fighting for.
There are a few anti-Mars talking points that are thrown out occasionally which are easily debunked.
Mars will not be a utopia for rich people.
Early Mars colonists will work incredibly long and hard hours. It will be extremely dangerous; if enough things break down at once, or any life essential is overlooked, death could come instantly. Early settlers will spend the rest of their lives living mostly underground. Mars will not be a luxurious resort destination for billionaires. However, what Mars does offer is the last chance to be an explorer. The journey will be long and painful, but the reward offered is epic -- a chance to build something that actually matters, and to go down in the history books as one of the most important human beings to ever live.
A Martian society would not be built by indentured servants.
The goal is to make Mars accessible to anyone who wants to take part in this hugely important mission. By reducing the cost of a Mars round-trip ticket to under $100k, millions of people will be able to afford a ticket. Even then though, it will be too expensive for some. These people will have the ability to take out a loan to purchase a ticket to Mars, in the exact same way that one can take out a mortgage on a house. Obviously, the individual would need a source of income that would allow them to pay off this debt eventually. Luckily, any job you could possibly want will be available on Mars! (Want to open the first pizza parlor on Mars? Go for it!) Somehow, allowing people to have this option has morphed into a bizarre narrative that all poor people will be enslaved on Mars. If this is your definition of enslavement, then anyone on Earth who has any debts or loans is currently a slave.
It's too hard
Since when has that ever stopped us humans from doing anything? If anything, this should be even more motivation for us to actually do it!