There’s no New Hampshire angle to this one, except for throwing cold water on all the hard science fiction fans in the state who dream of terraforming Mars. But I’m going to point to this piece on Gizmodo: “Humans will never colonize Mars” – because it’s interesting and sort of important.
Despite works like Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Mars Trilogy” (which I loved – it’s excellent), the idea of having more than a few small outposts on Mars is wildly unrealistic, it argues persuasively. One of many reasons:
There are many big challenges to colonizing Mars, with radiation exposure being one of them. This is an “issue that a lot of folks, including those at SpaceX, aren’t thinking about too clearly,” she told Gizmodo. Living underground or in shielded bases may be an option, she said, but we have to expect that cancer rates will still be “an order of magnitude greater” given the added exposure over time.
Also, there isn’t enough CO2 on Mars to change the atmosphere to human-ish – we’d have to import it.
Part of the reason to emphasize this negativity is that there a non-small segment of humanity, mostly rich geeks, thinks they can escape to Mars when Earth gets increasingly uninhabitable because of climate change and resulting social problems. That reduces their desire to help stop those problems from happening, when we need all the help we can get.
So face it, geeks: You and your descendants won’t live on Mars. We have to fix Earth.