Friday, April 22, 2016

Positive Considerations for the Colonization of Mars

Besides being a potential candidate for terraformation, Mars is seen as a beacon of hope for the future of humanity by proponents of colonization. They are in turn challenged by dissidents who bring up ethical and practical issues of taking on such an operation. These issues included our right as a species to endanger another by corrupting their natural environment, and the impracticality and costs of terraformation. The atmosphere, water content, gases, etc., of Mars render the process of maintaining an Earth-like environment difficult and costly in the long run.

Proponents of colonization uphold many reasons for the settlement of Mars. But in particular, the strongest motive is the preservation of the human race. Since WWII, the scale of nuclear weapons have greatly increased, and technology has advanced immensely. Although we have been able to maintain some stability on Earth, it seems that while we move further ahead into the future, these developments will only create more social or economic issues. Proponents of colonization believe that an international effort to settle Mars will bring humanity together in a collective effort to survive, or an “alternative to destructive wars that could decimate high tech civilization on Earth and humanity’s chance to reach the stars”(Paine). The additional fact that material from nuclear warheads around the globe can be used as fuel for future Martian civilizations for a long time, is another incentive for colonization. An international collective effort to use these weapons for this purpose would simultaneously bring us together for the common purpose of futhering humanity in colonizing a new world, as well as lessening the possibility of using these weapons for their original purpose. Basically, the goal of colonizing mars is both unifying and possibly beneficial in some perspectives. Settlement of Mars would also imply other benefits for humanity such as economic development and growth through expansion of our economy throughout the solar system and resources to be discovered, as well as a clean slate for humanity to restart itself.

In addition, Mars shows some promise in maintaining a good economic balance, in terms of what it can provide for Mars-Earth trade. For example, steel- an important industrial material, can be retrieved from mars in iron form in many quantities. Compared to steel production on Earth, that on Mars is significantly easier, since the conditions are so that the energy intensive reduction process is not necessary(Landis). In return, Mars’ arid soil would need to be fertilized through Earth’s resources, further enhancing the trade system in the process of colonization. Despite the numerous questions and ethical issues raised by dissidents of the colonization/ terraformation of Mars, it seems that fostering a civilization on this planet is in fact an achievable and potentially very beneficial project. Mars possesses most of the raw materials required to uphold a civilization and build what is required to sustain it. The only issue besides that would be of the moral implications, if it is discovered that microbes/life on Mars is confirmed to exist.


- Haeun Bang