We cannot go to Mars

A trip to Mars is no longer a pipe dream but an impending reality.

Technology is advancing, and our curiosity is growing. Though the journey is within reach considering the history of man and land that is not theirs, we should really sit this one out.

Elon Musk, head of SpaceX—the program that is focused on Mars exploration—has been known to reiterate the importance of setting up a colony on Mars in case something bad were to happen to Earth, like a doomsday asteroid or a far more likely human-induced apocalypse.

Mars is a cold, barren planet on which no living thing is known to have evolved and harbors no breathable air or oxygen, no liquid water and no sources of food, nor conditions favorable for producing any. According to data collected by NASA, the planet’s average surface temperature is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit. For these and other reasons it would be accurate to call Mars a hell for living things.

This motivation of colonizing Mars for preparation of some catastrophic event is dumbfounded. If we make no worthy attempt at stopping our royal screw-up on Earth and Mars becomes the only place in the Solar System to live, humanity should probably just go extinct.

There’s also no reason to think that the same people who destroyed Earth wouldn’t do the same to Mars, whether it be through environmental destruction or warfare or some other short-sighted venture.

Additionally, relocating to Earth would not be a widespread movement. According to SpaceX’s performance chart, each of their missions to Mars would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

When travel becomes accessible to the public, it will come with a fee. The wealth gap and class division in our world is detrimental enough. Introducing this “savior” of a planet brings no positives except maybe subduing the curiosity of a few.

Not only are there moral obligations to interplanetary space travel, there are also health risks that pose a great threat to the individual. Astronauts who will train for the long journey to Mars will face conditions and stress that we as humans have yet to face.

That amount of money and continuous effort that are put into SpaceX could easily be allocated to organizations or institutions that aim to alleviate our issues here on Earth.

Musk is often seeking new ventures to get involved within the midst of Tesla and SpaceX, and after an unsuccessful helping hand toward Thailand and the trapped boys, he began eyeing Flint, Michigan. Flint has had contaminated water that is undrinkable since 2014. The city needs new infrastructure within its water system. Musk visited the city and tweeted a promise to fund new water filters and pipes for the city, but as of today he has had no contact with the mayor of the city, according to Candice Mushatt, Flint’s public information officer in an email to Bloomberg.

Musk is blatantly uninterested in actually doing anything to improve the living conditions of those on Earth who are not billionaires. His mission is not to merely further our progress in space exploration for the sake of science but to plan a luxurious escape from life here on Earth.

Leaving this planet and the concept of other life existing is interesting, sure, but some things are better left unknown. What may or may not happen 100 years from now cannot be the sole motivation for our actions today. Colonizing Mars will not solve our problems—it will only be a new location for them.