|Would you rather live here . . .|
|. . . or here|
Many of you will remember Y2K, where Y stood for year, 2 for two and K for 1,000, which it always does, as in kilometre, kilogram, etc. Where were you on January 1, 2000, and did your computer die or the electric grid collapse as conjectured? We sang Auld Lang Syne with friends and the lights didn't falter, technology didn't crash.
Forgetting Y2K began at 12:01 am, January 1, 2001.
And then there's 911, a short-hand symbol whose significance we won't easily forget.
So have you embraced H2M as a significant, cryptic-but-clear symbol? I hadn't heard of it until I read a description yesterday of a conference of space scientists held at George Washington University in the USA on May 3 - 6. It discussed the implications of establishing a human colony on Mars, a kind of bet-hedging option in case the planet we now live on is rendered uninhabitable at some future time. The sentiment expressed there by one of the participants was that a one-planet humanity is at great risk, hence multiple-planet options are urgently needed.
H2M is a trade name for a number of business enterprises, but in some sciences, it means Humans to Mars.
We know considerably more about Mars than we did a year ago, what with the Rover Curiosity bustling around on its surface, sampling atmosphere and land, taking pictures to send back home. By all accounts, living on Mars would require building a completely enclosed, environmentally controlled environment, a daunting possibility given the mechanical and human failure rate of biosphere experiments here on earth.
But here's an idea: let's seriously take a look at earth as a viable planet on which humanity can thrive for the foreseeable future. It's a planet that already possesses all the requirements for human life including fresh water, soil that sustains plant growth, amenable temperatures, a breathable atmosphere and as a bonus, a beauty that can't be found elsewhere in our solar system. Let's stop exploiting this gift as ruthlessly as we are, and let's not buy into the rider that when we've exhausted its life-giving resources, we can just buy another one.
Via two Rovers, I've been to Mars.
I'd rather live in a badger hole with only the badger's in-laws for company.