The Martian Obsession

Artist's rendering of a red planet's desert landscape.

Lately, it seems as though Mars has been in the news a lot. We have a very advanced rover there, SpaceX and other private organizations are trying to get us there, and Andy Weir even gave us a glimpse into what it might be like to be there.

Non-private space firms also have big plans for Mars, so on and so forth. But something is kind of fishy about the whole Martian obsession. Why are we spending so much time, money, and energy trying to get there? Do we want to claim it? Make it a U.S. territory? Does NASA or the EPA know something about Earth that we don't?

Personally, I do believe the Earth will eventually look like a Mars or Venus, but I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. What if the resources that are being dedicated to Mars were spent here, on Earth? Toward clean-up efforts, renewability, green energy, research, and development? For Earth, our home. Maybe we can instead be striving to invent technology that can prevent the Earth from turning into a Mars or Venus.

Of course I think exploring the cosmos and the funding for our space programs is a good thing. A great thing! I just don't think getting to Mars should be such a priority, and that's the feeling I get now, like there's this insane sense of urgency around developing the technology needed to enable travel to Mars, and although I think Mars is pretty cooler, I also believe Earth is much, much cooler.


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