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How We’ll Die on Mars

Just read ‘How We’ll Live On Mars,’ by Stephen Petranek, who is a guy who uses words like ‘terraforming’ and expects to be taken seriously. He talks a lot about Elon Musk and SpaceX and Columbus’ voyages of discovery, but not a lot about the enormous cost in human lives that goes with frontier exploration. And it isn’t that anything he proposes is technologically impossible, given lots and lots of time and money, I guess it’s the escapist tone of it all that bothers me. The underlying and largely unspoken assumption here is that we’re deep in the process of bitching this planet up beyond all recognition, so we had better get another one ready, and hey, Mars is only around the corner…

How about we deal with some of the problems we have at home before we jet off into space looking for new ones? I know it’s not as exciting to deal with the ecology and the population bomb and energy issues, but you’d get a lot more bang for your buck. Democracy only works in an educated populace, which is a scary thought given the current state of education in America. If we could get the schools functioning well enough so that half of the parents in this country don’t have a shit hemorrhage every time someone brings up the prospect of Junior taking a standardized test so we can find out if the little bastard is actually learning anything, then maybe we should start talking about Mars.

Not until.

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