SpaceX founder and science-fiction fan Elon Musk is attempting to make the fiction of space travel a scientific reality. ‘In order to safeguard the existence of humanity,’ he explains, ‘we need to become a multi-planetary civilization.’ Musk says he’s laser-focused on ensuring we make a second home elsewhere in space, and has his sights set on Mars. He’s not alone, of course. NASA’s recently-released Moon to Mars Architecture Concept Review is a ‘study of the hardware and operations needed for human missions to the Moon and Mars,’ leading to long-term scientific discovery and human habitation in deep space.
But there’s a long way to go before we get there – and not just the 140 million miles (average distance to Mars). The biggest challenge to Mars habitation and eventual colonization is humanity itself, and our indecision. Many of us question why we should sink so much of our energy – both effort and resources – into such a task, when there are plenty of more pressing matters to address here on Earth?