Mars! That great big red angry thing in the sky. Many of us have gazed into the heavens and dreamed of stepping foot on to some alien world. And where better than Mars? That vast and unexplored entity looming large above. In 2012, the ‘Mars One’ project proposed an intriguing prospect. The idea of venturing to Mars and never returning home. Four humans establishing a permanent colony on a different world. Many criticised the plans for a variety of reasons. Cost. Technology. Replacement parts. Many think that there is only a 30% chance of getting there alive and only a 20% chance of surviving for more than three months. Many think it’s a scam and most call it ‘foolish’. But let’s disregard all that for just a moment. What if it was not only possible but a certainty? What if you were given that chance to go to Mars, colonise it, and never return? Would you do it?
It’s not a walk in the park, is life on Mars. There’s no oxygen, for a start, and the radiation is phenomenal. After all, there is only a very thin atmosphere. Every day would be a daily grind of hellish proportions. The living conditions would be cramped. It’s not sounding great, is it? But many would say that it’s worth the pain. The Earth won’t be around forever. We need to leave to ensure the survival of the human race beyond the point when the Sun goes boom-boom. Mars is our stepping stone out into the universe. And by being there, we’ll make discoveries that could benefit our race. Plus, something like this could make us here on Earth better.
Many would say that endeavour is what makes humanity so wonderful. That we laugh in the face of the overwhelming odds stacked against us. Look at the Moon landings. That still makes me smile. I still can’t believe we managed that. When I look up at the Moon, I feel so proud that we managed to get there. With technology that was basic and ancient by modern standards. If we can do that, we can do anything. Even if the odds are stacked against us, who cares? If you don’t try, you don’t get anywhere in life.
But the idea of never returning? That’s a tricky one. It makes sense. Less money involved. It’s easier to establish a colony that way. We can’t keep coming back to Earth. One day, one day, we’re gonna have to cut the cord and venture out on our own. To become truly independent space explorers. This is what Mars One has suggested and many have called it unethical. But there are many who would gladly jump at the chance to break free of Earth. They want a new life. But am I one? Are you?
I think I’d miss my family too much. I think I’d miss the warmth of the Sun on my skin and the fresh air in my lungs. We can travel as far as we want but we’ll never replicate the Earth. If this planet goes down, I’d go down with it. It’s my home. It’s the home of every human. If I left, I’d miss it too much to bear. I know I said recently that I’d love to live underwater as I don’t care about the Sun or the fresh air, but it’s comforting to know that it’s only… 12 hours away in a decompression chamber. But to know that I’d never experience that again? I don’t know how anyone could do that, to be honest.
So no, I would not take a one-way trip to Mars. But would you?
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