Elon musk published a paper. he wants to move.
In 1972 Elton John said, Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact it’s cold as hell. He might be right, but it looks like we will try and get our kids up there anyway.
Fact is, history is going to bifurcate along two directions. The first path is staying on Earth forever, and then head for some eventual extinction. The other is to become a multi-planetary species. Mastermind Elon Musk is certain, the last path is the right one. A single large asteroid can end us forever, and to survive, we have to reach beyond our own planet.
Recently, Elon Musk published a paper - a condensed version of a speak he did on the progress and plans on expedition Mars by his company SpaceX, on the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. His plan is pretty straightforward: he wants to move some of us to Mars within a decade. And he is making significant progress. Science is not evolving by itself. It needs a lot of talented and dedicated individuals to evolve. We went to the moon in 1969, and since then, human landings on other planets went down to zero. So in 2009, Elon Musk started SpaceX in order to re-engage the human species in the exploration of space.
The key to getting us to Mars, is making the voyage affordable - getting the price down, so some of the people who wants to go, can actually pay for the trip. To do that, SpaceX is making wildly powerful engines and reusable rockets. They have already been doing successful launches and landings back on Earth, and are delivering supplies to the NASA space station. And the latest event was firing an extraordinary rocket, Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. Part of it was sending Musk's cherry red convertible Tesla to Mars. It missed and is on its way around the sun. More impressing were the the succesfull synchronised landing of two out of three pieces of rocket motors.
The vision is that a city will take form on Mars. Humans will move in and slowly, by living there, working there, growing crops, building and producing propellant to send ships back to Earth and further into space, Mars will change. The greenhouse effect will kick in, it will become hotter, the ice in the underground will melt, and form oceans, plants will grow, and ultimately, somewhere in an unpredictable time in the far out future, the atmosphere will be thickened, and Mars will change. It will take a lot of hard work and a lot of years, but the technology needed to terraform Mars, the reengineering of an entire planet, already exists. The mission is to make Mars more like Earth.
Mars expert Stephen Petranek wrote a book on how to survive on the red planet. It probably will begin with erecting an enormous solar sail serving as a mirror, and focusing the reflection of the sun on the south pole of Mars. That will melt the ice, and kickstart the process of inhabiting the hostile environment. But he is certain it will change. It will rain and it will snow on Mars, and if everything goes as planned, Mars will be much like British Columbia. It might take around 1.000 years, but it is possible that by moving into Mars, it will actually allow us to take off the space suits, and live there, much like we do here on Earth. You would probably jump over your car instead of walking around it, Elon Musk says, but except from that!
In biology we are already on the edge being able to control our own genetics, and eventually our own evolution says Stephen Petranek. We could learn to adapt to the foreign world, and we could end up with a species of humans on Mars, that is a little different from the species of humans on Earth.
But what would you do on Mars? The same as on Earth probably. Someone will start a restaurant, someone will make documentaries and sell them on Earth. Someone will probably start a reality TV-show. There will be hotels and bars. It will be much like here. And it might be the only way of preserving the habitability of Earth, to split up. We humans have exploration in our DNA. And when a trip to Mars will cost the same as an average american house, there will be a lot of people wanting to go. And then they will go. It is happening. Some of us will stay home, but some will move and raise their kids on Mars. They will probably have to live in underground caves for the first couple of centuries, but the human race is definitely evolving into a multi-planetary species.