Will humans ever live on Mars? Should they?

The Mars rover Curiosity reached its destination this morning. It’s charged with determining whether Mars could support life. Today’s Question: Will humans ever live on Mars? Should they?

657875main_pia15791-466.jpg NASA image

  • Richard

    It’s too bad we’re nowhere near having the capability to physically explore any of them — either by manned or unmanned missions. Our farthest unmanned objects, Voyager I and II, only recently made it beyond our own Solar System (depending on how you define it); we last put a human being on the moon ~40 years ago (let alone Mars, which NASA can only discuss in terms of far-off planning). We made such astounding progress in space exploration in the first few decades of the Cold War; it feels like we’ve been stalled out ever since. I don’t really mourn the loss of the shuttle–it was a glorified space truck, designed for LEO runs; I mourn the loss of a national vision. We don’t have one.

  • jon

    Yes, and Yes.

    We have the technology to put a man on mars right now. We have the technology to keep them alive there with regular re-supply missions.

    What we don’t have is the money.

    Once we have the money, it will happen.

  • Gary F

    Unless some precious metal or new technology comes from Mars, I’d say no.

    Europe is bankrupt, we are right behind, and China’s economy is dependent on the US and Europe.

    I can’t see us dumping a lot of money into this unless there is some huge commercial reward.

  • Richard

    What difference will it make? We won’t know until we know. But had there not been curious people doing things more prosaic minds failed to see any value in we’d likely all be sitting in mud-floored huts, sick and with empty stomachs.

    It shocks me that after all the unexpected inventions and discoveries that pure, curiosity driven science has given us (that have vastly improved all our lives) there are still those questioning its value.

    There are 7 billion of us. We can do more than one thing at a time. Cut military budgets and use those resources to fix some problems. But keep your hands off of science!

  • GregX

    too early to seriously ask the question – let alone even answer it. And definnitely not until we develop plasma fusion drive. – 2nd Of the harsh non-earth objects to occupy – the moon is the better candidate. Not just proximity – but also minerals and services that can be run from there. Baby steps, Baby steps. And as for moon “development” – we need to create the law that governs private companies rights and restrictiions to work there. If its a free-for-all ( ala past “colonial” practices – we are in for a very expensive mess.

  • Jim G

    Will humans ever live on Mars?

    I hope so. It would prove that humans can put aside petty grievances and differences to work together toward a common goal. It would spur scientific advances and thinking and double the chances of humans surviving an extinction level event such as; an asteroid strike, climate change, nuclear incidents, epidemic disease, as well as many other disasters awaiting our collective progeny.

    Should they?

    Yes. It is in our genes to colonize and spread throughout habitable environments, where ever they may be.

  • GregX

    Ever Live on Mars? – doubt it. Should we ? No. …. but we could send robotic minerals extractions systems to Mars and perhaps establish space-solar observation tools for scientists.

  • DW Jones

    I grew up a complete space geek, so the boy in me wants to say yes to both questions. And I think humans will one day live on Mars or the moon. But at this point in the development of humanity, I think we should NOT go to Mars. There are still far too many tests on this planet that we as humans have yet to pass – the ability to transcend race and nationality and set aside war, the demonstrated ability to respect non-human life, the commitment to sustain the planet on which we depend. Until we pass these tests, we deserve to stay here and accept our fate. I think my point is underscored by the early answers to the question; the majority of the respondents see Mars (and the moon) as a resource to be exploited. They don’t want to live on it, they want to mine it. And Jim G – “it is in our genes to colonize and spread throughout habitable environments?” I could say that about bacteria, slime molds and rats. In short, I’d say sort out and clean up our messes here before heading off to screw up another planet.

  • Steve the Cynic

    If you believe that nothing free markets won’t do isn’t worth doing, then no, and no. If you believe some things are worth working together to achieve, then maybe, and yes.

  • Jim G

    We have much to learn about the basic facts of Mars, but it would be an interesting pardox if we find that life on Earth evolved from Martian bacteria carried here on asteroids. Then we’d just be going home.

  • Paul

    We aren’t ever getting off this rock in any real way; no matter what we want.

    So, we better learn to live together.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Although it would be fantastic to extend the human race to Mars, I doubt that it will ever happen. We have a rapidly expanding human population here on earth that is quickly reaching the point where the planet won’t be able to support it.

    Colonization of Mars will never become more than just a dream in a few minds, as mankind’s focus shifts from trying to live in prosperity to just trying to survive.

  • david

    Doubt it. Not by the US anyway. Pulling of a stunt like that would require more cooperation that we are incapable of anymore. Then there’s the issue of the holders of the checkbook being willing to pay for it when the ROI would take longer then the next quarter to reap the rewards. The bankers that run this country are just too shortsighted to accomplish great things anymore.

  • Susan WB

    Maybe, and Yes.

    People may argue (reasonably so) that we need to get our act together on Earth before trying to go to other planets, but my feeling is that it is the very act of reaching higher that drives us to find solutions to our problems. When we push ourselves to do great things, we find answers to the big problems that stand in our way – problems that seem intractable otherwise.

    But, if it happens in my lifetime, I don’t think it will be the U.S. that does it. We’re too risk-averse these days. We can’t stomach the idea of something going wrong and seeing astronauts dying in the pursuit of the Moon or Mars. The prize will go to a country like China, where people are more willing to sacrifice at the individual level for success at the group level.

  • georges

    The National Debt goes up 1 million dollars every 43 seconds.

    The U.S. GDP increases by 1 million dollars every 100 seconds.

    The Federal Reserve Monetary Base goes up 1 million dollars every 30 seconds.

    Now, if you have been paying attention, and are not burdened by dinosauric lefty lib thinking, you can figure out what the problem is.

  • georges

    “The prize will go to a country like China…”

    The “prize”, should there be one, will not go to a country at all.

    It will go to a private Capitalist Corporation.

  • Ann

    It is no wonder that the country has financial problems. Money from the taxpayers is being wasted on things like this and no one seems to care.The German government worked with companies and unions to make concessions and to get people into the right jobs.They prospered by being practical.

  • Luke Van Santen

    Yes, and yes.

    “Ever” is a long time and there will come a point when we will get there. It will almost certainly be a while though (sadly).

    Should we – yes, unless we can invent and implement a foolproof method for protecting our environment from terrestrial and extraterrestrial hazards (environmental degradation / climate change, asteroid impact, gamma burst, etc). It would be a pity to get our act together here on Earth only to be participants in the next large extinction.

  • John

    No chance in the next 100 years.

    Too much war for the Zionists.

  • Michael

    With the Olympics on, I see how far a person can go if they push themselves to the limit. As a country we seem to have given up on Great Projects, and have contented ourselves with being, as a nation, lazy, slothful and comfortable.

    We require something like a Mars Project in order to continue to be a great country. We cannot do it based on the idea of American exceptionalism, unless we put it into practice. We need to continue to stretch our muscles, pump up our national body, let our reach exceed our grasp.

    I spend less than six dollars a year on NASA, I think my pocketbook could handle a few more.

  • jockamo

    Yup…..

    Mars is the answer.

    Just before the Gamma Burst, or Asteroid Impact, or catastrophic Climate Change……

    We’ll ship a few thousand of our species to the surface of Mars.

    Where they can huddle in a crater….looking for a Walmart…..and wishing they had stayed on Earth for the End.

  • Stephanie

    Will humans ever live on Mars? Should they?

    Maybe, and yes.

    Some things are worth working together to achieve.