Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mission to Mars

100,000 colonists flock to Mars - well, ok, so not really. But just think of what this could mean for humanity. Let us suppose it is a solid "go." What follows is a loose use of history, numbers, and supposition.

Thousands of years ago, stargazers of the ancient world looked up to a "wandering" red star. Later scholars devised it was in fact a planet. Later still, through use of the telescope, it was determined that their were mountains and canals on this now barren world. And what began as pulp fiction in 1912 with Edgar Rice Burroughs is now a reality.

After nearly a decade of isolated, rigorous training, the first in a long line of humans from Earth will launch for the Red Planet in September 2022. ETA roughly 200 days later. Spring 2023 marks a momentous achievement of mankind...extraterranial (yes I know it's not a word) colonization. Another, not-so-small step for man, and a gigantic leap for mankind. Not too shabby for a species that first walked on the moon only a half century earlier.

The first colonists, 2 men and 2 women, will be "alone" on Mars with 5,500 lbs of supplies for approximately 2 years. Trained in everything from farming and medicine to engineering and exploration, these brave souls are the first of what will be countless others to abandon Earth for a one way trip to an alien world. Within the decade that follows another 40 will make the trek with a total load of near 25 tons of everything needed to pave the way for another 30,000 neighbors. The exodus numbers continue to swell to 100,000 and beyond.

Just as John Rolfe is remembered as a hero of the New World, and Neil Armstrong is remembered as a hero of the Space Race, these intrepid explorers will share the mantle of heroship (yeah, another not-a-real-word) for whole of humanity. Who's to say what will be said of them 100, 200, 500 years from their first bouncing step into the red dust? What is to say that, even with the technology of tomorrow "lighting the dark", that these settlers will fair better than the dismal 12% survival rate of the Jamestown Colony? Let us hope the have sense enough to name the colony something like Neoterra instead of Roanoke II.

Taking a much more optimistic view of life on Mars is the Generation One: Children of Mars Kickstarter.
Yes, the goal has already been met. But with 25 days left to go, there's still time to give - every little bit helps. As much as I'd like to see myself in comicbook form, I can't afford the $500 to be drawn in.

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