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Monday, 28 September 2015

Life on Mars?

Mars One
An ambitious project called Mars One is aiming at sending a crew to live on Mars in the year 2027. The team have been told that once they leave planet earth there will be no way to return home - it's a one-way ticket deal.

Six people have just started living in a dome in Hawaii in a NASA experminet to see if it's possible for people to live in Mars-like conditions for a year. They will not be allowed out except in a space suit to test the endurance of human beings for prolonged life on a Mars-like planet.

When living on Mars three obstacles must be overcome. First, bodily survival, food, water, air and climate. Second, in a confined space how will the members handle inevitable conflict? You can't run away and hide for a few weeks. Third, the spiritual dimension. How can human beings exist for long in an environment that is devoid of life and beauty?

Some western scientists talk about colonizing Mars, preapring the planet and the human race to live there should earth become inhospitable and inhabitable. There are good reasons to doubt that this will ever happen. It is likely humans will land on Mars, but I don't believe we will ever live on Mars, and here is why.

Problem 1: Physical life. The temperature and atmosphere of Mars mean that no human will ever be able to walk on its surface without a space suit. (Those who think that we can change the atmosphere of a planet are playing God.) There must be real questions over whether in the long term the necessary resources for life such as water and oxygen - and a secure habitation - could ever be sustained.

Problem 2: Confinement. The fact that the living quarters will be very small and no-one will be able to leave without a space suit on, makes the prospect of life on Mars claustophoic in the extreme. We were created to live in a garden, not an outhouse.

Problem 3: Psychological/spiritual. The greatest reasons for doubting the feasability of life on Mars are psychological and spiritual. We were designed to live on earth, placed in a garden for infinite delight and distraction. Without the need of a spacesuit we can run into forests and plains and explore the beauty of the world.  No other boring planet (and they are ALL boring without life) will ever satisfy the curiosity of the human mind. A man-made environment is simply not enough to sustain "life".

I predict that the end product of settling down to such an artificial life in a dome on Mars will be some form of madness.

Mars One plans to fund the project by "Big Brother" kind of access to the crew. Viewers are likely to get more than they bargained for.

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