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Perhaps Not Yet Mars Perhaps Not Yet Mars
by Jan Sand
2023-05-11 06:19:06
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As a kid back in the 1930’s I was fascinated by the literature of H. G. Wells. Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and the many others who described the possible adventures of travelling off this planet to spread human civilization elsewhere in this solar system and beyond. Actually seeing the initial phases of this possibility in my lifetime seemed impossibly remote in those early days, but the technologies post WWII moved very quickly to edge into actuality towards realizing what might be needed towards the first primitive steps in that fantasy.

As with much in the development of human technology, initial funding for rapid advance in the totally new required generous funding from military possibilities and space venturing was no exception.  This century has finally seen the growth of several civilian firms invading the technological field of space in supplementing the several governmental efforts in satellite launches and the necessary machineries of maintaining space stations and sending probes throughout our solar system and beyond. Elaborate plans and initial technology is moving along to establish bases on our Moon and to Mars but making that a profitable exercise is mainly theoretical since the financial requirements are immense and the unknown dangers of human space habitation can be quite severe and very difficult to ensure routine safety. The growing dangers to normal existence on our home planet is frequently offered to justify initial attempts to set up off planet colonies as a backup to human existence with not much known as to how Earth creatures would react to exoplanetary fundamental differences to local Earth ecology such as differences in gravity and exposure to cosmic radiation  and local atmospheres are so radically fundamental that it might require basic design changes in DNA and  other organic systems to permit even the fundamentals of life persistence to perform properly.

At this moment many of the standard demands of traditional accepted social and economic human activities are attempting to ignore the radical effects that human civilization is imposing on all forms of current Earth life in the general ignorance that life on the planet must not be viewed as a diverse collection of independent species. Even within the immensely complex internal human body systems there are micro-organisms that are deeply necessary to ensure the complex functions properly and these relationships can vary considerably between individual humans, not to speak of the microbiomic complexes of all other species. No other spacial environment can supply this vital necessity. We have, relatively recently, become aware of this vast interdependence and its total loss on moving to an exoplanetary environment provides very unfamiliar problems in a highly hostile environment that indicates that total failure is extremely likely.

The most impressive difficulties presented by global heating, extreme changes in weather conditions and violent phenomena such as hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, huge loss of fresh water supplies, failures of electric networks, droughts, loss of vital species in insects, birds, sea life, rising sea level, immense viral pandemics, and totally threatening loss of sensible financial systems to permit humans to obtain the basic necessities that permit them to live even minimal living conditions, indicate that humanity, whatever one may think of the nature of our species, openly demonstrates its very strange inability to construct a world social system that can properly confront and solve even the most basic  problems to exist and prosper. Currently, the most fragile stasis of world stability is dependent on the most peculiar conglomerate of various power structures not to use the many nuclear weapons it has manufactured to threaten planetary life existence with all sorts of all sorts of massively expensive militaries who are led by officers who delude themselves that they can save the world by totally destroying it. This all has the flavour of an atmosphere that would be totally intensely comic if it was merely a theatric adventure such as Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove”.

As much as I would prefer to look forward to the human species to sail forth to obliterate the working ecologies of other planets, my generous optimism sees this as somewhat unlikely.

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