So far my research had been exclusively American. I decided I needed to change it up a bit, so I looked to discover what the motherland had to say. My most relevant findings weren’t about the future, but the past. BBC News’ Race to Mars webpage had a nice timeline which emphasized most that humans hit Mars with man-made materials in 1971 and 1972. Educating uninitiated space junkies, the site reveals that starting back in 1965 humans were taking close-up pictures of the surface from orbiting satellites. This was exciting and a good sign for two reasons. First, from taking close-up pictures to landing–albeit crash landing–took less than a decade. Second, Mars One has given itself a decade and there are rovers right now on Mars. Remember Mars One’s claim…they’re only going to use existing technology. That was becoming more and more believable as my research continued. Moreover, 10 years to prepare was beginning to sound more like 10 years to perfect the plan.
Scrolling down to my Works Cited page, I decided to see what James Bell III had to say. In an extremely impressive article called, “The Search for Habitable Worlds: Planetary Exploration in the 21St Century,” Bell plainly and eloquently explains the situation. The situation is that Mars is definitely mankind’s chosen priority at the moment (9). Before going further, I need to clear the air and acknowledge that Bell never does discuss placing humans on any of the once habitable or possibly habitable worlds; instead he emphasizes the current strategy slogan adopted by NASA is “flyby, orbit, land, rove, and return” (9). One particular article highlight is that it sounds like Mars likely had water at one point, but it is difficult or impossible for water to remain stable on the surface today because of the lack of atmosphere (12). So, this article then is a mixed bag for my quest. This writer, Bell, seems to be a very respectable voice in the community, but he doesn’t mention settling people on Mars. However, he does an excellent job of delineating that humankind is in the “third great Age of Exploration” as historian and author Stephen Pyne has labeled it (8). As always, I take this to be a great indicator that we are moving quickly and will soon be living on Mars. I take this to be a great indicator because the first two ages of exploration (the first personified by Columbus; the second, Lewis and Clark) were successful. Among the many things humans, as a group, seem to be skilled at, exploring tops the list–and I see no reason for this skill to have perished simply because we’ve reached the end of the Earth.
Bell III, James F. “The Search for Habitable Worlds: Planetary Exploration in the 21St Century.” Daedalus 141.3 (2012): 8. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 5 Sept. 2013.
BBC News. BBC, 04 Feb. 2008. Web. 17 Sept. 2013. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/sci_tech/2003/race_for_mars/default.stm>.