Earth, our home for the time being, and out of all the planets in the Milky Way galaxy, this planet provided the right combination of oxygen, water and atmosphere for single-celled organisms to evolve into the bi-pedal creatures called human beings. There are a confirmed 989 “exoplanets” in this galaxy so the fact that we are on one that was “tailor-made” for us is mind boggling. But yet we keep a constant look out for a planet that could possibly contain life or at least contained life in the past. The newly found Kepler 452B, 1400 light years away seems to have all the qualifications of a planet resembling ours but is there life out there?
Sure, we want to know if we are the only species in this galaxy, or space in general for that matter. Something tells me that we can’t be. And if we are not alone, I believe whatever is out there is not to be disturbed by us. Maybe there’s a reason that all the planets that we have discovered so far have harsh environments. The galactic version of “do not disturb signs”. What may seem harsh to us could be paradise to another species and could be the buffer that keeps us seperated. We are just about to launch a colony of space travelers to the planet Mars in 2023 to set up house keeping, and they won’t be coming back. The dream of a Dutch entrepreneur Mars One, as the mission is being dubbed, plans to launch “colonist” to the red planet where they will attempt to lay a foundation for the future. Are we actually ready for such an endeavor? The plan is an aggressive one for sure, and one where there is bound to be a loss of life. Some believe that such a mission is already doomed and say that all the people will be dead in 68 days. The reasons given vary but it is believed that the lack of food and water will be their downfall. But that hasn’t seemed to discourage the 100 finalist who are in the pool to become the first known Martians. The field will be widdled down to 24 by launch time and the space vessel that will make this 7 month journey will be assembled in space. We have already spent billions of dollars studying the red planet which has been the topic of countless discussions and unbridled theories every since H. G. Wells unleashed his 1898 thriller, “The War Of The Worlds”. Curiosity is still a strong motivator and man will not be satisfied until there’s “boots on the ground.”
Should we invest billions more and possible lost of lives to go to a planet that has shown no signicant signs of current or past life? Even if the colony of “Martians” are able to establish the colony how long is it going to take to make it a satisfactory way of life? As a human colony there will no doubt be births to balance out the deaths and those born on the red planet will be born in an artificial atmosphere of man made oxygen in heavy gravity. The number of triumphs and tragedies will tell a chilling story after the first year on such an expedition and if it’s determined that the colony should be abandoned will we be ready to send a rescue mission to bring them back?
NASA, who is on board with the program, has the right idea about establishing a colony in space, but do we have to travel that far when there’s an alternative and safer solution. Why not go back to the moon and start there. All the things that needs to be tested for long space flights can be done on the moon, and a three day rescue trip is a lot cheaper than a seven month trip to Mars. Not to mention you could get a supply ship to the moon colonist and even swap out crews if need be. I think a moon base would be just the dry run needed before we go outside the neighborhood.