why we shouldn't colonize mars

While there’s no doubt in my mind that humans will eventually visit Mars and even build a base or two, the notion that we’ll soon set up colonies inhabited by hundreds or thousands of people is pure nonsense, and an unmitigated denial of the tremendous challenges posed by such a prospect. It seems a poor alternative to living on Earth, and certainly a major step down in terms of quality of life. As Friedman pointed out, this carries some rather heavy existential and philosophical implications. “There are a lot of questions still unanswered about how microgravity and partial gravity will affect human physiology,” Seidler told Gizmodo. These techniques will be, one hopes, heavily regulated on Earth, on prudential and ethical grounds, but ‘settlers’ on Mars will be far beyond the clutches of the regulators. Right now, you are standing on the edge of history. Preliminary: Why should we colonize Mars? Not only does it not support life, but it turns out those charming craters aren’t just lovable scars from millions of years ago. But many explorers who want to colonize Mars have as their main motivation that it is new. We must slow down global warming and reverse it back, if possible. Saturn’s largest moon Titan is the only natural satellite with more than a trace atmosphere. Briony Horgan, assistant professor of planetary science at Purdue University, said Martian terraforming is a pipedream, a prospect that’s “way beyond any kind of technology we’re going to have any time soon,” she told Gizmodo. This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation. The billions – if not trillions – of dollars needed to colonise Mars could, for example, be better spent investing in renewable forms of energy to address climate change. For other colonists, the minimal gravity on Mars could result in serious health problems over the long term. And most of all, we don’t know how low gravity will affect the mother and fetus. This will require specialized lighting, genetically modified plants designed specifically for Mars, and plenty of water, the latter of which will be difficult to source on Mars. Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’. I think humans will out-breed our ability to feed ourselves long before colonies outside our biosphere become independently viable. I know, it's a weird question, but as technology improves, it's bound to come up sooner or later. We shouldn't colonize Mars. For the Moon, there is the Google Lunar X prize, Shackleton Energy Corp, and OpenLuna, and again numerous other groups. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is projecting colonies on Mars as early as the 2050s, while astrobiologist Lewis Darnell, a professor at the University of Westminster, has offered a more modest estimate, saying it’ll be about 50 to 100 years before “substantial numbers of people have moved to Mars to live in self-sustaining towns.” The United Arab Emirates is aiming to build a Martian city of 600,000 occupants by 2117, in one of the more ambitious visions of the future. “That’s thousands of years in the making at least.”, “Not too many things excite my imagination as trying to design organisms—even people—for long term space flight, and perhaps colonization of other worlds.”, coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth, not nearly enough CO2 on Mars required for terraforming, declines in cognitive test scores and altered gene function, genetically modified plants designed specifically for Mars. The notion that we’ll soon set up colonies inhabited by hundreds or thousands of people is pure nonsense. To inform the public about what’s really going on, we present the facts and challenge those who don't. Collectively, these changes would result in an entirely new species of human—one built specifically for Mars. And it may not even happen. This can result in a poor sense of balance and compromised motor functions, but research suggests astronauts in microgravity eventually adapt. … Podcast: Unreliable COVID tests; Amazon’s creepy Halo health band; Celebrate pesticides? They are much cheaper than humans because they don’t require a vast support infrastructure to provide things like water, food and breathable air. For one, the Moon lacks an atmosphere to protect … Another issue has to do with motivation. Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional? She thinks we should go there, visit the planet and do science there. We’ve got some awesome news for you. underground or in bases] forever. Yes, we must try to keep Earth a habitable place. Viewpoint: How anti-GMO activist-journalist Carey Gillam primes the glyphosate litigation pump, Daily Digest & Outbreak Coronavirus (Mon-Thu), Mission, Financial Transparency, Governorship, and Editorial Ethics and Corrections, Viewpoint: COVID vaccine successes have made headway in rebutting facile arguments about the dangers of biotechnology, How COVID deniers are taking pages out of the anti-vaccine movement’s playbook. That big, cold, lonely lump of rock spinning through the endless void 54.6 million kilometers away? Researchers are studying whether a wonder material used in Mars rovers could help warm parts of the Red Planet rich in water ice. Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues, Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign, Early COVID vaccine recipients are reporting numerous side-effects. Children born on Mars (if that’s even a possibility) might never be able to visit the planet where their species originated. No, vaccines are not harmful. “We don’t yet understand the safety or health implications. Air pressure on Mars is very low; at 600 Pascals, it’s only about 0.6 percent that of Earth. This article offers two arguments for the conclusion that we should refuse on moral grounds to establish a human presence on the surface of Mars. In a few centuries or less humans will likely still exist, but the technological society we’ve built for ourselves will be gone and something vastly different will have replaced it. Read full, original post: The case against Mars colonization. And of course, if we have not figured out how to deal with problems of our own making here on Earth, there is no guarantee that the same fate would not befall Mars colonists. But don’t ever expect mass emigration from Earth. Like some of the other solutions proposed, this won’t happen any time soon, nor will it be easy. Which is a good point. “We are not going to go to the moon or Mars because of population pressure,” he explained. I identify five reasons offered by advocates of colonization… Finally, there’s the day-to-day survival to consider. Until such time, an un-terraformed Mars will present a hostile setting for venturing pioneers. Mars also has less mass than is typically appreciated. Here we outline some of these perspectives. We make occasional visits to Antarctica and we even have some bases there, but that’s about it. So while Mars will remain inaccessible to ordinary, run-of-the-mill Homo sapiens, the Red Planet could become available to those who dare to modify themselves and their progeny. Mars is also subject to winds and seasons, whereas the temperatures on the moon can vacillate between 253 degrees Fahrenheit and -387 degrees Fahrenheit in a single day.The moon’s lack of an atmosphere is the result of its paltry mass and weak gravity. Yet despite these and a plethora of other issues, there’s this popular idea floating around that we’ll soon be able to set up colonies on Mars with ease. Life in a Martian colony would be miserable, with people forced to live in artificially lit underground bases, or in thickly protected surface stations with severely minimized access to the outdoors. While that might sound appealing, this low-gravity environment would likely wreak havoc to human health in the long term, and possibly have negative impacts on human fertility. Humanity's eventual journey through interplanetary space and landing on Mars won't be about winning; it will be about progress. This is an “issue that a lot of folks, including those at SpaceX, aren’t thinking about too clearly,” she told Gizmodo. Seidler’s research into the effects of microgravity suggests it’s a distinct possibility. So why aren’t we racing to colonize the moon? Have we lost hope for Earth? Gravity on the Red Planet is 0.375 that of Earth’s, which means a 180-pound person on Earth would weigh a scant 68 pounds on Mars. A host of other problems are likely to exist, giving rise to Martian-specific diseases affecting our brains, bodies, and emotional well-being. These traits could be made heritable, such that Martian colonists could pass down the characteristics to their offspring. Unlike other fields, development into human spaceflight, he said, “has become static.” Friedman agreed that we’ll likely build bases on Mars, but the “evidence of history” suggests colonization is unlikely for the foreseeable future. There are many reasons why we shouldn’t go like, it is too expensive, and that it is very dangerous. They would carry with them their earthly microbes. When it comes to colonizing outer space, Mars gets most of the attention, but there are also some very compelling reasons why we should colonize Titan. Is there a Bible passage that justifies why we SHOULDN'T colonize or terraform Mars? Seidler, an expert in human physiology and kinesiology, said the issue of human gestation on Mars is a troublesome unknown. The human lifespan on Mars is likely to be significantly less than it is on Earth, though again, we simply don’t know. Robots have several inherent advantages. If humans can’t make it to Mars, it means we’re destined to be “a single-planet species,” he said. They just want to be the first people on a new planet. Indeed, modifying humans to make them adaptable to living on Mars will require dramatic changes. It’s a dangerous delusion to think that space offers an escape from Earth’s problems. By contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was at Vostok Station in Antarctica, at -128 degrees F (-89 degrees C) on June 23, 1982. Secondly, This would cost lots of money, And we could spend money on better things such as fixing our Earth, Which leads to my third point, That we should fix our Earth first … “But it also sounds a bit pie-in-the-sky,” she said. The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke. Yeah, you. At the moment, there are a few groups trying to reach Mars, and a few groups who are trying to reach the Moon. We don’t know how sperm and egg will act on Mars, or how the first critical stages of conception will occur. Ok we're onto the second reason why we should not go to Mars. And even if we do develop therapies to treat humans living on Mars, these interventions are likely to be limited in scope, with patients requiring constant care and attention. Studies of astronauts who have participated in long-duration missions lasting about a year exhibit troubling symptoms, including bone and muscle loss, cardiovascular problems, immune and metabolic disorders, visual disorders, balance and sensorimotor problems, among many other health issues. 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. What this lofty vision fails to appreciate, however, are the monumental—if not intractable—challenges awaiting colonists who want to permanently live on Mars. You read that right. Astronauts who return from long-duration missions have a rough go for the first few days back on Earth, experiencing nausea, dizziness, and weakness. Indeed, there’s the whole terraforming issue to consider. “But this just hasn’t happened. The winters are cold, and there’s less sunlight.”. My work has shown an upward shift of the brain within the skull in microgravity, some regions of gray matter increases and others that decrease, structural changes within the brain’s white matter, and fluid shifts towards the top of the head.”. Populations of people have a tenancy to ruin the places we go to. While delivering a keynote address at a NASA event in 2010, Venter said, “Not too many things excite my imagination as trying to design organisms—even people—for long-term space flight, and perhaps colonization of other worlds.”. The low gravity may also “confuse” the gestational process, delaying or interfering with critical phases of the fetus’ development, such as the fetus dropping by week 39. We should colonize Mars Edit Argument Eventually there will be another mass extinction event, human-caused or not. I wanted to look at the case against Mars; three reasons humans should leave the red planet alone. Work by NASA’s Scott Wood has shown that recovery time for astronauts is proportionate to the length of the mission—the longer the mission, the longer the recovery. To grow crops, colonists will likely build subterranean hydroponic greenhouses. It’s possible that the human body might adapt to the low-gravity situation on Mars, but we simply don’t know. [We] (and our progeny here on Earth) should cheer on the brave space adventurers, because they will have a pivotal role in spearheading the post-human future and determining what happens in the twenty-second century and beyond. Our DNA would have to be tailored specifically to enable a long, healthy life on Mars, including genetic tweaks for good muscle, bone, and brain health. The feeling was that humans would find a way to occupy every nook and cranny of the planet, no matter how challenging or inhospitable, he said. When the the first Apollo mission landed on the moon they only had 30 seconds of fuel left, 30 SECONDS! What reasons do we have to invest the resources required to establish a human presence on Mars? Even though this is all true the rejecting side has claims that outweigh these reasons to go. These problems may not be as acute as those experienced on Mars, but again, we simply don’t know. Disturbingly, we have no data for microgravity exposure beyond a year or so, and it’s an open question as to the effects of low gravity on the human body after years, or even decades, of exposure. This leads Nick Bostrom to argue that failing to colonize space would be tragic because it would mean that these potential “worthwhile lives” would never exist, and this would be morally bad. You might as well be exposed to the vacuum of space, resulting in a severe form of the bends—including ruptured lungs, dangerously swollen skin and body tissue, and ultimately death. And here I disagree strongly with Musk and with my late Cambridge colleague Stephen Hawking, who enthuse about rapid build-up of large-scale Martian communities. A strong case can be made that any attempt to procreate on Mars should be forbidden until more is known. To be clear, terraforming is not necessarily an impossibility, but the timeframes and technologies required preclude the possibility of sustaining large, vibrant colonies on Mars for the foreseeable future. To Understand Earth: Mars is the planet in our solar system that is most similar to Earth. We all dream of journeying (or living) among the stars. Our interactive GLP global map explains the status of each country’s regulations for human and agricultural gene editing and gene drives. A possible solution is to radically modify human biology to make Martian colonists specially adapted to live, work, and procreate on the Red Planet. Colonists will also need stable food sources, and figure out a way to keep plants away from radiation. We must colonize Mars to mitigate existential threats to humanity as a species. Single-dose COVID vaccine by Johnson & Johnson/Janssen up next for approval, Flashing red on college campuses: As schools reopen, universities emerge as COVID petri dishes, Crash effort to develop coronavirus vaccines has revolutionized disease treatment. I googled it, and I didn't find anything about the topic, so I came here. “People like to be optimistic about the idea of colonizing Mars,” Seidler, a specialist in motor learning and the effects of microgravity on astronauts, told Gizmodo. Life in this closed environment, with limited access to the surface, could result in other health issues related to exclusive indoor living, such as depression, boredom from lack of stimulus, an inability to concentrate, poor eyesight, and high blood pressure—not to mention a complete disconnect from nature. When it comes to terraforming Mars, there’s also the logistics to consider, and the materials available to the geoengineers who would dare to embark upon such a multi-generational project. Posted by 10 hours ago. Thus, for decades and perhaps longer, it will be necessary, and forever desirable, for Mars to be able to import specialized manufactured goods from Earth. And that’s assuming humans could even reproduce on Mars, which is an open question. We should wish them good luck in modifying their progeny to adapt to alien environments. 6. Well, progress and parades. Seidler said NASA and other space agencies are currently working very hard to create and test countermeasures for the various negative impacts of living on Mars. Mars is the closest thing we have to Earth in the entire solar system, and that’s not saying much. The Red Planet is a cold, dead place, with an atmosphere about 100 times thinner than Earth’s. Humans once stepped on the lunar surface, but never Mars. It is easier than ever for advocacy groups to spread disinformation on pressing science issues, such as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some astronauts, like NASA’s Scott Kelly, never feel like their old selves again, including declines in cognitive test scores and altered gene function. “It is really because we have an innate desire to explore.” Hendrix is actually not too negative about Mars. Genetic modification would be supplemented by cyborg technology—indeed there may be a transition to fully inorganic intelligences. This scenario has been tackled by a number of science fiction authors, including Kim Stanley Robinson in his acclaimed Mars Trilogy. I'm just curious. Excellent article and worthy of discussion and serious thought. By post-human future, Rees is referring to a hypothetical future era in which humans have undergone extensive biological and cybernetic modifications such that they can no longer be classified as human. Space X wants to use the moon as a launching area for spaceships to Mars. “Establishing stable resources to live off for a long period of time is possible, but it’ll be tough,” said Horgan. And like the International Space Station, Martian habitats will likely be a microbial desert, hosting only a tiny sample of the bacteria needed to maintain a healthy human microbiome. In cases where biology is not up for the task, scientists could use cybernetic enhancements, including artificial neurons or synthetic skin capable of fending off dangerous UV rays. “Yes, there would be physiological and neural changes that would occur on Mars due to its partial-gravity environment,” she told Gizmodo. As for treating the resulting negative health impacts, whether caused by long-duration stays on the ISS or from long-term living in the low-gravity environment of Mars, “we’re not there yet,” said Seidler. Yes, the use of biotechnology, GMOs or gene editing to develop antigens for treatments including vaccines are part of the solution. live on Mars. Casting aside the deleterious effects of radiation on the developing fetus, there’s the issue of conception to consider in the context of living in a minimal gravity environment. ... Mars is even more expensive, and we aren't likely to get the funds back directly. This is why Mars can benefit us. Humans Should Not Colonize Mars - Volume 3 Issue 3. The … The paltry amount of air that does exist on Mars is primarily composed of noxious carbon dioxide, which does little to protect the surface from the Sun’s harmful rays. Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies ... Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be ... News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox. The suggestion that humans will soon set up bustling, long-lasting colonies on Mars is something many of us take for granted. The atmosphere of Mars would likely give some protection against these rays. On Earth, bones, muscles, the circulatory system, and other aspects of human physiology develop by working against gravity. That we may eventually become an interplanetary or interstellar species remains an open question. In his latest book, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees addressed the issue of colonizing Mars rather succinctly: By 2100 thrill seekers... may have established ‘bases’ independent from the Earth—on Mars, or maybe on asteroids. These goods can be fairly limited in m… 1. But again, it’s unclear what the upper limits are.”. “It’s not clear whether these changes would plateau at some point. Humans are an evolutionary experiment. If humans do eventually land on Mars, they would not arrive alone. Which way is SARS-CoV-2 evolving? After the Moon landings, Friedman said he and his colleagues were hugely optimistic about the future, believing “we would do more and more things, such as place colonies on Mars and the Moon,” but the “fact is, no human spaceflight program, whether Apollo, the Space Shuttle Program, or the International Space Station,” has established the necessary groundwork for setting up colonies on Mars, such as building the required infrastructure, finding safe and viable ways of sourcing food and water, mitigating the deleterious effects of radiation and low gravity, among other issues. This GLP project maps contributions by foundations to anti-biotech activists and compares it to pro-GMO industry spending. Horgan pointed to a recent Nature study showing that radiation on Mars is far worse than we thought, adding that “we don’t have the long-term solutions yet, unless you want to risk radiation illnesses.” Depending on the degree of exposure, excessive radiation can result in skin burns, radiation sickness, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Mars is the easiest planet for Earthlings to reach, but it isn’t exactly easy to get there. Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming? For Mars, that would mean the injection of oxygen and other gases into the atmosphere to raise surface temperature and air pressure, among other interventions. Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The arguments above show that we are perhaps not ready to go to Mars – at least, not today. “A lot of people approach it as thinking we shouldn’t limit ourselves based on practicalities, but I agree, there are a lot of potential negative physiological consequences.”. Mars offers no natural protection against solar radiation and galactic cosmic rays. Many people agree that we should go to mars but I disagree. But the further north you go, the rougher the conditions get on the surface. Even if Mars is a lifeless planet, whether it’s ethical to colonize Mars may depend on what kinds of consequences the mission has here on Earth. Neuroscientist Rachael Seidler from the University of Florida says many people today fail to appreciate how difficult it’ll be to sustain colonies on the Red Planet. Friedman agrees that, in principle, we could create artificial environments on Mars, whether by building domes or underground dwellings. Once temperatures get below the -40 degrees F/C mark, people who aren’t properly dressed for the occasion can expect hypothermia to set in within about five to seven minutes. “Some of these effects would have to eventually plateau—there is a structural limit on the fluid volume that the skull can contain, for example,” she said. There’s no ‘Planet B’ for ordinary risk-averse people. Jakosky and Edwards concluded that there’s not nearly enough CO2 on Mars required for terraforming, and that future geoengineers would have to somehow import the required gases to do so. Mars is the best target for colonization in the solar system because it has by far the greatest potential for self-sufficiency. As Friedman pointed out earlier, we don’t see colonists living in Antarctica or under the sea, so why should we expect troves of people to want to live in a place that’s considerably more unpleasant? As Martin Rees pointed out, Mars and other space environments are “inherently hostile for humans,” but as he wrote in his book. Podcast: Beyond CRISPR and gene therapy—How ‘gene writing’ is poised to transform the treatment of even the rarest diseases, Podcast: Polymerase chain reaction—The ‘transformative’ tool that sparked a genetics revolution, Video: Infrared camera shows how COVID spreads through a room. It might actually be a brutal experience, especially after having experienced years in a partial gravity environment. “People don’t realize how complicated this is,” said Horgan. In fact, not at all, despite the relative ease at which we could achieve this. Infographic: What are mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and how do they work? No place in our solar system offers an environment even as clement as the Antarctic or the top of Everest. The thin atmosphere also means that heat cannot be retained at the surface. Under the oceans it’s even worse, with some limited human operations, but in reality it’s really very, very little.” As for human colonies in either of these environments, not so much. Close. The radiation problem may be solvable, he said, “but the problems are still huge, and in a sense anti-human.”. Enforcing such a policy on a planet that’s 34 million miles away at its closest is another question entirely, though one would hope that Martian societies won’t regress to lawlessness and a complete disregard of public safety and established ethical standards. The main reason is radiation. An artificial womb might be a possible solution, but again, that’s not something we’ll have access to anytime soon, nor does it solve the low-gravity issue as it pertains to fetal development (unless the artificial womb is placed in a centrifuge to simulate gravity). The red planet is no place for flags and nationalism. [T]he first argument against human travel to Mars: contamination. Earthrise, 1968. The problem is that you can’t stay in there [i.e. Please support us – a donation of as little as $10 a month helps support our vital myth-busting efforts. “But if we’re doomed to be a single-planet species, then we need to recognize both psychologically and technologically that we’re going to have live within the limits of Earth.”. The developing fetus, she said, is likely to sit higher up in the womb owing to the lower gravity, which will press upon the mother’s diaphragm, making it hard for the mother to breathe. “You can only do so much with radiation protection,” Horgan said. If that's your motivation, then remember, as soon as the first colonists arrive on Mars then it will already "be done". Why do you think there are so many conversations about Martian colonization? But, we won’t know if a permanent presence is possible until we try. This might be the first step towards divergence into a new species. “Trying to think about establishing colonies to point of what we would consider safe will be a big challenge.”. Unless we radically adapt our brains and bodies to the harsh Martian environment, the Red Planet will forever remain off limits to humans. As soon as you go outside to do anything, you’re in trouble,” she said. We shouldn't colonize Mars. “We’ll want to be close to water and water ice, but for that we’ll have to go pretty far north. In the second instalment of his two-part feature on human missions to Mars, Dr Alexander Kumar asks whether we should send people to the Red Planet given our poor record managing this one. By terraforming, scientists are referring to the hypothetical prospect of geoengineering a planet to make it habitable for humans and other life. But as Friedman told Gizmodo, “that’s thousands of years in the making at least.”. The regolith, or soil, on Mars is toxic, containing dangerous perchlorate chemicals, so that also needs to be avoided. Other reasons likely contribute to the disinterest in lunar colonization. Nevertheless, even with optimistic extrapolation of robotic manufacturing techniques, Mars will not have the division of labor required to make it fully self-sufficient until its population numbers in the millions. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic realize how complicated this is, ” seidler told Gizmodo Halo health band ; Celebrate?... Only natural satellite with more than a trace atmosphere agree that we almost did not achieve moon... Try to keep plants away from radiation regulations for human and agricultural chemicals believes this is a distinct.... Vaccination effort inform the public about what ’ s that, in,! Human physiology and kinesiology, said the issue of human gestation on Mars is more. Achieve the moon as a launching area for spaceships to Mars but i.... 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Any attempt to procreate on Mars is very low ; at 600 Pascals, it bound...

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