-Elon Musk, at the International Astronautical Congress, 2016
It’s easy to see some marvel of aerospace engineering and get excited about or maybe even involved in it without giving it a second thought. Sure, plenty of people have been motivated to do things simply because they were “cool”, However, I would put forward that something being “cool” is not a very good reason.
There seems to be a groundswell of people who want to send humans to Mars, all for varying reasons. The most profound, powerful, and pertinent being the “backing up” of the human race. The effort is spearheaded Most notably by Elon Musk with his company SpaceX. Musk has explained on multiple occasions how humanity can (with an implied should) virtually assure its future if only we colonize Mars. The idea is that if some cataclysmic event were to occur here on Earth then a colony on Mars would remain unscathed and humanity would ultimately survive. However, this assumes that humanity ought to live on if for no other reason than our evolutionary history, having rendered us the victor, obligates us to secure our future further.
But to what end? The eventual heat death of the universe? One way or the other humanity will meet its end. Getting there would be like reaching a finish line that is physically impossible to cross. Likewise, it is ultimately unfulfilling: what is so great about the future if it’s not better than today? Maybe it is taken for granted that the future will be better, but there seems to be something else which we can’t escape: ourselves.
All around are those who could care less about anybody other than themselves. They don’t share the idea of a good future. They slander, malign, cheat, lie, molest, enslave, and kill those around them. What is being done to counteract that?
If we really want a worthwhile future, and not just a longer one, then we need to start caring for our community now so that that practice can be carried on into the future. Just think, if everyone was responsible for just one other person, how amazing the world would be. It may not be the best system, but it shows how much room there is for improvement. After all, where is humanity found if not in the individual?