From Billionaires to Barsoom …or why they ain’t going to Mars
Okay, a while back I wrote about how some of the more obnoxious members of our political and economic elite seem to be daydreaming about escaping to other worlds, or at least sanctuaries on this one, should our present society ever collapse. And, oh, BTW, if society ever does go belly up, then it would probably be because of the actions of the very same obnoxious-oids who were planning on fleeing in the first place (see The Big Bug Out...for Libertarians Only).
Mars, not a fun place.https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/lets-colonize-titan/
I guess, at the time, I was kind of speaking tongue in cheek. But, on reflection, I think there might actually be something to the idea. If our elites really were consciously or unconsciously thinking about an emergency exit from this all too firma terra firma, then it might explain why some of our more bilious billionaires seem a bit fixated on having their very own space forces.
Which, I submit, might be a problem for the aforesaid bilious boys and girls. That’s because interplanetary colonization is (I suspect) perfectly possible. Or it will be someday. But, right now, it isn’t, or at least it isn’t easy.
Consider our most attractive option for off-world colonization, the Moon, the only celestial body we’ve actually visited. We could probably settle it in the very near future. But…there’s a bunch of little issues involved. Like, cosmic rays. And meteors. And heat. And cold. And solar storms. And a lack of air and water and a bunch of other stuff. And you’d probably have to build your shelters underground, or under enormous mounds of Moon Rock. ‘Cause if you didn’t protect the heck out of your frail, carbon-based, organic body…you’d, uh, die.
But, the moon seems to have a small image problem. Maybe nobody likes a satellite. And, anyway, The Final Frontier crew seems to be focused on Mars. Though, frankly, I’m not quite sure why. Mars isn’t a nice place, really. It’s bloody cold. Its atmosphere is thinner (and more orange) than Donald Trump’s hairpiece on a bad day. Water’s in short supply. The soil is actually toxic (no kidding. It’s full of chlorine). And, well, basically, it’s a ‘ell of a long ways from John Carter and his oviparous centerfold-sweetheart, Deja Thoris.
Again, I’m not saying that it can’t be done. Just that it will not happen in a hurry. Mars is simply not a Garden Spot. Ditto for Mercury, the asteroids, the Jovian moons, Pluto, etc., etc., and, of course, etc. Oh, and it’s double ditto for Venus, where the surface temperature can exceed that of molten lead. (So sad. When I was a boy, it was supposed to be wet and verdant, with jungles, and maybe the odd dinosaur. Now…we know it’s hell on steroids with a sulfuric acid kicker.)
Like I say, someday, it may be possible to settle other worlds. Maybe we’ll even figure out how to “terraform” places like Mars. Only, that day isn’t with us yet. And when it does come, the terraforming in question is going to require a lot of time, effort, and energy….most of it produced by the population of ordinary men and women whom the Elite, with a chortle, have left behind to starve, freeze, or otherwise perish on Good Ole Mother Earth, preferably with ‘em making as little fuss about it as possible.
About Off-World Colonization...you did see Aliens, didn't you?
My point being that if…if…our space-loving Elites are…however secretly, or unconsciously…thinking of extraterrestrial settlement as a way of escaping our (which is to say their) screwups on Earth…
Well, then, they may want to rethink the strategy.
Quite simply, for a long time to come, it will be easier, and much cheaper, for them to stay here…on good old earth…and actually do something radical like share some resources with ordinary people…
Rather than act like spoiled children…and demand all the toys for themselves…even though, particularly though, such fearsome greed and narcissism might result…
In the extinction of all humanity.
Including the human in the mirror.
Until next time…
Onward and upward.
PS: A quick aside…
I should mention that there is one place in the solar system that might be rather a good fit for colonization. Specifically, Saturn’s moon, Titan. Apparently, or so I’ve read, it one of the rare pieces of extraterrestrial real estate that could support human beings without too much difficulty. It has a dense, mostly nitrogen atmosphere, which would shield us from cosmic rays and such. Its gravitation is lower than earth’s but not minute. And you wouldn’t need a full-scale space suit to walk on the surface, just a facemask, an oxygen tank, and lots of warm clothes.
That said, it is also just about a billion miles away. Meaning, getting there would be major effort.
So, even if Titan proved to be the Ritz Cancun of outer space…
Ted Cruz, and all his pals, aren’t getting there any time soon.
See: “Let’s Colonize Titan,” by Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, Scientific American, November 25, 2016, https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/lets-colonize-titan/
Copyright©2021 Michael Jay Tucker