Opinion: Are we ready for a journey to Mars?

Carley Hull is a senior news major and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Carley Hull

As if we don’t have enough to worry about on our own planet, some people are prepping to go to Mars. And by some people, I mean 24 people who will be divided into six crews of four to be sent to Mars every two years starting in 2024.

According to CNN, more than 200,000 people applied for the not-for-profit Dutch foundation Mars One’s plan to colonize Mars, knowing that if selected, they will never return to Earth. Currently, 100 people have been selected for more testing, 39 of whom are American.

Maybe I’m outdated, but this blows my mind. I just can’t fathom leaving green grass and blue skies for red soil and dust. Trading the simple things, like playing with puppies, to wear a special suit just to go outside. Also, thinking about being in a small spacecraft with three other people, then being alone on an entire planet with three other people, is not going to be “The Brady Bunch.” 

This is simply my own personal nightmare. I think space is scary (don’t even get me started on aliens), and I just plain don’t care much about space unless it is for entertainment because I try to focus on the planet I live on. Those of you who think space is awesome, that’s quite all right and maybe a trip to Mars is your dream; but we cannot ignore the fact that colonizing another planet is going to be hard, and it is going to present problems.

I think it is a scientific revolution that we can travel to space, the moon and soon other planets, but what will that do to us as a people? The idea of a global community is appealing and romantic, but after all of the injustice, war and hate that have unfortunately become a reality, how can we fathom adding another planet to the mix? To put it simply, I think we are ready for space, but I don’t think we are ready to become an interplanetary society until we get our act together on Earth. 

Although Mars One is not government affiliated like NASA, how can we be sure Mars One’s daughter company, Interplanetary Media Group, isn’t taking money and giving promises to hazardous investors? America, as well as other countries, all have their own political issues, and I can’t help but wonder if we will only be perpetuating those issues once a Mars colony is established. 

America is still at war with terrorism in the Middle East, and we still have a flawed sense of equality for all people of different colors, religions and genders on our own soil. How can we expect to create a better place on another planet when these problems are not solved at home? We still have more to learn about Mars One’s mission and the people who will go, but time and action on Earth will only show us if we are ready.