Colony On Mars: Science Fiction or Science Fact?

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong’s famous words spoken on the moon seem to be etched in one part of history. However, could these words soon be spoken on Mars in just a few short years? In the coming years and decade, this dream may soon become a reality as many government space agencies and even private companies are competing to get to Mars first.

Many people, though educated, may not know what this mission is all about. When asked if they knew anything about the future colonization of Mars, senior Jacob Kelleher and freshman Claudia Pyka shook their heads no. All that was known to Jacob was, “There is [a mission]- based on the minerals that were found there.” Claudia added, “I know of people that signed up to go.”  It may be “cool” or “interesting” to students, but many do not know the general idea of the mission.

Mr. Daniel Scott, Glenbard West’s Astronomy teacher, on the other hand, is much more informed on the matter. When asked about the topic, Mr. Scott said, “There is a Mars One mission that is currently in preparation. Mars One is a Netherlands-based private company trying to beat the government space organizations to Mars. I believe they’re trying to get there within the next decade while most space agencies are aiming for the 2030-2035 window.”

According to Mr. Scott, there are many different agencies and companies competing, so, “The next great space race will intensify as the years get closer to 2035,” Mr. Scott said. Once there, scientists and researchers- and average people willing to go- will populate Mars with up to a million humans within the next 50 to 100 years. There’s one catch- one has to be willing to die there and never come back. The way they get there, however, is another story. Another competing space company – Space X – has developed a plan to build reusable rockets and fueling stations to easily get to Mars and eventually beyond.

One major problem is getting people to go in the first place. While 100,000 people have already signed up with Space X alone, more astronauts are needed. Mr. Scott added that he would love to go to Mars, but he says, “I better be coming back!”

The Mars mission is an alternative to the life we are living here on Earth – with political turmoil, overpopulation, and global warming. Some people believe Mars can solve these problems, and Mr. Scott is of the opinion that all people – whether willing to go or not – should be educated about the missions to Mars.

He conveyed that we all should be curious about what’s out there. He stated that, “[Some people] want to know what is out there and how far humans can push their limits in exploration. They want to expand the boundary of understanding and be the innovators of the next great technology. They are the wonderers who refused to believe the world is flat, orbit is impossible, and getting to the Moon is insurmountable. We all have a choice as to which type of person we want to be, and really, the decision is up to each individual.”