Mars One

Yesterday, my friend told me about Mars One.  If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a non-profit project and its goal is to send the first humans to Mars in 2024.  Hundreds of thousands have applied to be a part of this historic movement and they’re currently in the process of narrowing it down.  Sounds interesting, right?  A chance for civilians to go to space?  To be the first people on Mars?  Why not?

Well, it turns out there’s a catch.  This is a one way flight.  You go to Mars, you don’t come back.  History will remember your name, but you are destined to die on Mars.

Let me say that I really admire the people who’ve signed up for this project.  It’s an enormous sacrifice to make in the name of human exploration, curiosity, and adventure, which are all very noble causes.  I honestly think we need more people like that.  That being said, however, my butt is never leaving this planet.

I’d be terrified of going into space even if I was guaranteed to come back.  I don’t like flying.  I don’t like small spaces.  And I really like Earth.

As a species, we humans really take our home planet for granted.  It’s something I think most of us are aware of, but it’s not something we really take the time to think about.  Maybe because we can’t imagine a world where trees and oceans and blue skies don’t exist.  But these individuals who are volunteering to live and die on Mars are about to experience just that.  No plants.  No oceans.  No nature whatsoever.  Furthermore, they will be saying goodbye to everyone they’ve ever loved.  I don’t know about you, but I could not get by without a cat.  Or my family and friends, you know, but I really need a cat.

A lot of us complain about our lives.  That might just be part of the human condition.  We’re never fully satisfied with what we have, even though we’ve actually been given a great deal.  Earth is a great place to live.  It was designed that way.

What’s funny is this whole Mars One conversation comes only a day after I was forced to explain to my friend why I don’t like sci-fi.  At least, sci-fi set in outer space.  If The Hunger Games is sci-fi, then I love that, but outer space sci-fi is just not my thing.  For some reason, it makes me feel really uncomfortable.  I think it’s due to a couple of things.

First of all, I’m scared of aliens.  Ironically, I love alien invasion movies, Signs, The Fourth Kind, etc… But movies with aliens that walk around like humans and are supposed to be your friends?  They creep me out and I don’t know why.  I love the aliens that are actually supposed to freak you out.  But the Yodas and the Wookies and the other friendly extra-terrestrial types?  Eeeugh.  I’m not a huge fan of robots either.

Secondly, I don’t like not being able to see the ground.  I remember watching Star Trek and Star Wars and wondering, What is holding these space buildings up?  Where is the ground?  Here’s the thing.  If you fall off the edge of the building or the sidewalk, you die.  Or you get sucked into outer space and then you die. I like planets.  I like the ground.  The ground is good.

So friends, this concludes my Why Earth Is The Best Planet To Live On talk.  For the record, I really do love learning about the planets and the stars.  I think they’re beautiful and magical and wonderful and full of new and exciting mysteries.  However, I will be appreciating them from Earth.  It’s just where I belong.

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Not Mars, but the best shot of outer space that I’ve got.