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October 7, 2014

Life on Mars — circa ?


The image above is a full-page ad from the October issue of The Atlantic.

It pictures a permanent human outpost on Mars.

Alas, I'll never get a chance to visit the real thing, nor will any of my readers.

Here's how I see it: the first human to set foot on Mars will be Chinese, and the event will take place between 2030 and 2040.

I would guess a base as extensive as that pictured in this image might be constructed by 2060 — 46 years from today.

So, if you're five years old and reading this, you'll be 51.

I doubt any country would send people that old to Mars in the initial decade or two of settlement, thus my pessimism about today's readers visiting.

Oh well... we can dream....

October 7, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


When I was a kid, I saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" on a 75-foot wide Cinerama screen in April 1968, and I've had this reproduction insert poster framed on my wall for many years: http://imagizer.imageshack.com/img912/8430/o5Vjrw.jpg

I look at that poster sometimes and think, "We could have done it." Then I follow that up with a sigh because I know that, just one year after the first moon landing, the vast majority of Americans could not remember Neil Armstrong's name (see Matthew Tribbe's "No Requiem for the Space Age").

Posted by: Mike Harney | Oct 12, 2014 9:35:48 PM

I'm not giving up yet. I spent a large portion of my youth reading the SF genre and Joss Wheadon's Firefly / Serenity Tv/Movie certainly makes the case for Anglo/Chinese deep space exploration/exploitation.

We just might have the time necessary to develop the technology to reset our teleomeres and repair/recode our genes making the age issue flip - the youth stay on-planet and the older, educated and highly skilled will be the first to establish self sufficient colonies on Mars, the gas giants' moons, and the asteroid belt.

A gas-passer in space would be invaluable. I can see you running around the interior of the Discovery just like Dave Bowman. You sending compressed video messages to your great-great-great-great grandchildren while planning the family get-together on Gliese 832c (merely 16 light-years away).

Of course, the concept detailed in Cliff Simak's 1964 Hugo Winner, Way Station (originally published as the two-part novella "Here Gather the Stars" in Galaxy Magazine's June and July 1963 editions) might exist, and we just haven't gotten the memo.

Io, Io, it's off to space we go. Older farts make better explorers - and, whatever else - there will always be a need for docs in space - trauma happens!

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Oct 8, 2014 4:48:28 PM

really, who would ever want to move there?

Posted by: RobWeeve | Oct 7, 2014 8:23:13 PM

By 2030 they’ll have ethnicity-change procedures and you can be Chinese. If they’re sending humans they’ll be able to send prefab buildings and have the base up in six months, or six days. And they’ll need ancient and venerable folks like you (ahem, like you’ll be then) to transmit the wisdom of ages past.

Besides, with Mars’ gravity only 38% of Earth’s, you won’t look a day over thirty-one.

Posted by: Marianne | Oct 7, 2014 1:10:03 PM

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