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Before we colonise Mars, let's look to our problems on Earth

Everyone wants to go to Mars, or so it seems. Elon Musk, NASA with Lockheed Martin, and now Boeing are all looking towards the red planet, with heady predictions of missions during the 2020s. But at what cost? And could we even survive any long-term colonisation on Mars? Given the problems we face here on Earth it’s important to ask whether we should be better tasked with looking after the only planet we know (so far) that can harbour life. The race to Mars Boeing says it wants to be involved in the first mission to send humans to the red planet. The company’s chief executive Dennis Muilenburg told a US TV host in December 2017:
I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket.
A key rival is Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, which is already launching rockets. At the 68th Annual International Aeronautics Congress, in Adelaide in September 2017, Musk spoke of airline-like connections between Earth and Mars, with cargo missions to begin by 2022. Lockheed Martin says it plans to send humans to Mars in the next decade. Even the famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has argued that it is “essential that we colonise space” although he doesn’t see it happening that soon:
I believe that we will eventually establish self-sustaining colonies on Mars and other bodies in the Solar system although probably not within the next 100 years.

Read More: The Conversation

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