The Commited MAY 2015 - Page 55

TED BODRUM COLLEGE / 9-C Should We? Hamit Efe ELDEM Everyone wants to go to Mars or it seems feasible to go. But the real question is: ”Shall we or could we go?” Elon Musk, NASA with Lockheed Martin, and now Boeing are all looking towards the red planet, with heady predictions of missions during the 2020s. But at what cost? And could we even survive any long-term colonisation on Mars? One of the biggest obstacles standing on the path of a human colony on Mars is the price tag. Getting to Mars will be prohibitively expensive, and figuring out a method of paying for the project isn’t so easy. Of course Scientific exploration of Solar system planets constitutes one of the most exciting achievements the human race is realising but the idea of colonising Mars or other planets or moons is misleading. It yields an impression in many people’s mind that an alternative exists to Earth, a unique (so far) haven of life in the Solar system, currently suffering from global warming, rising oceans, extreme weather events, mass extinction of species and growing risk of nuclear wars. We worry that the oceans on earth will get too polluted, or too acidified, or rise up too high. It’s true that could make life on earth very hard. But on Mars the only surface water is frozen in the polar ice caps. We would be hard pressed to ruin the water on earth so badly that it’s worse than what’s available on Mars. We also worry about the level of carbon dioxide we humans are creating but there is no evidence of a liveable atmosphere under which plants or other organisms would survive on Mars. As Ellen Stofan, former chief scientist of NASA puts it, “There is no Planet B.” We object to the mission to colonize Mars. We believe that it is an incomplete solution to an unlikely contingency. The window of opportunity for us to work together to solve our planet’s most pressing problems is closing, and we must act before it is entirely shut. Living in Mars is biologically impossible and furthermore it is an unethical project. How about saving our planet before we colonise Mars?