I came across an interesting article today regarding the location of our future colonies around the solar system. In it, the author argues that we should look somewhere besides mars for our future colonies due to proximity and other factors. He suggested that we could paraterraform Mars or the moon (create a dome and create Earth-Like conditions within instead of trying to do so to the entire planet). I think it would be a great idea to do this on the moon first for a proof-of-concept as well as to mine Helium-3, which could provide us with better rocket fuel to make our trips to Mars faster and easier. This would make a Mars colony much cheaper to achieve.
Number of colonists is also an issue, as to create the right conditions for genetic diversity to prevent certain disorders and create the best possible survival rates, we would need a minimum of 10,000 colonists, probably more like 40,000 and up. Getting that many people to the Moon or Mars and being able to house and feed them would be a hefty task. Elon Musk has said he plans to make a Mars colony with 80,000 people in a matter of decades. Whether or not this is feasible, we’ll see. Still, I think it’s a noble task to try. A number of events could occur which threaten the Earth and the people living on it. Asteroids, Nuclear War, and the reversing of our magnetic poles which would leave us temporarily vulnerable to solar storms (Something very important now during our current solar storm) are just a few of the many possibilities that could end us. I’m still banking on Zombie Apocalypse.
Wouldn’t it be an ease on everyone’s mind if the human race could life on in a self-sufficient society even if the Earth were destroyed or uninhabitable? I think simply the amount of scientific discoveries and the bounds our technology would take just to make these colonies viable would have an immeasurable impact on the Earth. Most people don’t realize how many discoveries and inventions can be attributed to the space program already, and in reality, the program is still in its infancy. Take a look…you might be surprised.