Should humans colonize other planets?

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Should humans colonize other planets?

How beneficial is interplanetary colonization? It has been a dream of many with advanced technology to accomplish the task.

How beneficial is interplanetary colonization? It has been a dream of many with advanced technology to accomplish the task.

Photo by Creative Commons

How beneficial is interplanetary colonization? It has been a dream of many with advanced technology to accomplish the task.

Photo by Creative Commons

Photo by Creative Commons

How beneficial is interplanetary colonization? It has been a dream of many with advanced technology to accomplish the task.

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“In terms of people going to Mars, I think this is potentially something that could be accomplished in about 10 years, maybe sooner, maybe 9 years.” says Elon Musk an influential public figure and technology entrepreneur.

In June 2013, Buzz Aldrin, American engineer and former astronaut, and the second person to walk on the Moon, wrote an opinion, published in The New York Times, supporting a human mission to Mars and viewing the Moon “not as a destination but more a point of departure, one that places humankind on a trajectory to homestead Mars and become a two-planet species”.

With all this talk on space colonization, new questions arise. One in particular is: just because we can, does that mean we should? To answer this, we must first ponder why we would want to go to Mars in the first place. The two most common reasons in favor of colonization are survival of human civilization and the biosphere in the event of a planetary-scale disaster (natural or man-made), and the availability of additional resources in space that could enable expansion of human society. 

These arguments may seem valid in theory, however, if we colonize other planets, who’s to say we won’t ruin those. Humans have consistently proven our inability to preserve ecosystem due to greed or lack of care for natural resources. Our obsession with advancing human society has caused extinction of whole animal species, glaciers to melt, and trees to die. If we colonize other planets in hopes to advance society, we run the risk of destroying a whole new planet. 

Furthermore, sending humans to colonize other planets will cost billions of dollars. This money could be used to feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless or even advance medicine. Why spend money on space when there are problems to be solved here on Earth.

Human fascination with space exploration is understandable with our ever-growing curiosity. With movies like Star Wars and Star Trek, planet colonization may be a dream many wish to see come true. But in my opinion, space colonization should stay a dream for now, as we have an existing planet here worth saving.

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