Who gets to visit Mars?

Hubble Captures Best View of Mars Ever Obtained From Earth
Hubble Captures Best View of Mars Ever Obtained From Earth | Source

A brief introduction:

When I read this fantastic Hub by Ixxy called "When Humanity Unites" here, first I just wanted to write a small comment about it. This then turned out to be too long for the comments section so I thought why not making it even longer and write a whole Hub about it?

If you haven‘t read the above Hub yet, I strongly recommend you to read it first and then come back for this Hub, but if you don‘t have the time to do it or want to finish reading this Hub first, I‘ll give you a super-small abstract: it deals with the survival of humanity and at one point mentions the three types of civilizations the famous physicist Michio Kaku once described to exist. These are (quoted from Ixxy‘s Hub - thank‘s for this great roundup by the way)

  • Type One: Planetary civilization that harvests it's energy from it's own planet. (We're not even doing that, just utilizing dead plant material.) This civilization has worked towards mastering it's environment planet wide, and now controls much of the process' its planet goes through.
  • Type Two: Stellar civilization. This civilization is in some respects, "immortal." They've harvested stars. They can control, predict, and react to these energy sources, and get out of the way if a star is too unwieldy.
  • Type Three: Galactic. Galactic civilization wouldn't necessarily be us flying around, exploring strange new worlds--no, most efficiently, we would send out mechanical "feelers" to moons and await for a type 0 civilization to become type 1. (Thus explains Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey")

Odyssey launched on Boeing's Delta II 7925
Odyssey launched on Boeing's Delta II 7925 | Source

Who gets to visit Mars ?

Unfortunately newest predictions (and some calculations done) show that we may not reach Kaku's Stage 1 in time before Earth actually becomes uninhabitable (there are hundreds of potential dangers for our planet, some of them are only hypothetical, others not really explored yet and of course the probability of mankind starting an all-destructive third world war is increasing annually).

There are mainly 2 factors why this is said to happen:

a) The intelligence of humanity is dropping rapidly at the moment - Einstein (correct me if I'm wrong) once described it that way: "The average intelligence of humanity isn't falling - no in fact it's pretty constant BUT the number of humans is increasing rapidly " other scientists (very famous ones - not just pessimists seeking attention) even speak of an "inverted Flynn effect" - meaning that the average intelligence is in fact already decreasing since the beginning of the 21. century.

There are a number of factors to blame for this development, while some neurologists and psychologists blame the internet, mobile phones, drugs and the laziness of our society (the usual suspects for all sorts of problems) others blame how society encourages people to start working/earning money while they're young. This and a number of other factors then lead to the fact that most people end up doing their 9 to 5 jobs, living a peaceful live without any motivation to study 6 years at an university in the first place which of course demands high sacrifices since the 6 years are without income, furthermore a good university is in fact very expensive (here of course a controversial argument states that this is made to be barrier for certain members of a society (now that could be considered a crazy argument ;)), others simply see it as a the only way the US Army can recruit more soldiers by offering them money for their future studies after the military service (quite harsh words)).

I cannot support any of those theories yet unfortunately I also cannot explain why the intelligence really is decreasing, but who really can explain it?

Also is e.g. an IQ tests and all the different variations that exist of it really the way to measure a persons intelligence? WHAT IS intelligence after all? That's why I don't even want to spend more time with reason a) and continue with reason b)

b) Mankind is a primitive species. That's why we spent TRILLIONS (yeah you heard it! A "one" continued by 12 zeros! (or 18 zeros if you're living in a "long scale" country (talking about united Humanity xD)) of dollars just to fight deadly wars because of small misunderstandings, borders, mineral resources and so on. While we cannot invest even the estimated 500 million dollars that would be necessary to start a mission to colonize Mars (which is crucial for our survival in the Universe. More and more famous physicists and scientists in general start to emphasize that we really better start this program as soon as possible).

Since many governments, when asked to participate in such a program, answer that humanity is not yet ready for such a mission because we have to solve all the problems we have on this tiny planet before expanding into the vast space - how fussy is that?

Also a great number of people have to stay on the planet anyway, so why paying for a few high-intellectual people to leave earth and (presumably) never come back?

Not to mention the possible riots when it would be made public that only 500-1000 humans can survive while the rest of them is left behind on the planet (How could one even determine the "value" of a human being when it comes to such a hard decision? Since intelligence is hard to measure not to mention the fact that intelligence alone does not necessarily mean power - or lets put it that way: maybe the most athletic humans would have a better chance to survive on such a mission instead of a bunch of intellectuals)

Therefore we seek for other - more efficient ways to colonize space (like manipulating humans to live longer and under more extreme conditions which would facilitate sending more of us into space since the most expensive part of this mission is still protecting the fragile human body and supplying it with food/air etc. which requires expensive technology and takes up a lot of space in a potential spacecraft - but also the power of religion plays a role in hindering our development in the genetics field (questions like: should we really "play god"? immediately arise), not to mention the animal rights activists who don't even agree on rats to be used in animal tests for curing diseases, so why would they agree on a lot more animals being used for genetic research. (It's an ironic and controversially discussed topic that animal tests and tests on humans (mostly with prisoners (of war) e.g as done by the Nazis or Japanese during WWII or even in ancient rome) are responsible for many major milestones medical science has achieved so far). How could someone really hold such a view in public ? And even if - wouldn't it lay the foundation for a terrible Dystopia to arise when suddenly some genetically mutated humans, as described by Friedrich Nietzsche in his visions of a strong, egoistic individual Uebermensch , would start to control our planet?

"If it bleeds we can kill it" or why science fiction is important

Luckily all the discussed matters are more considered to be science-fiction so far but isn't that terrible in a way? Because if we look at how many movies dealing with the future of our species actually describe it to be a horrible Dystopia where mankind has no more individual freedoms and is exposed to constant violence and warfare? Well of course there are other ways earth's future is often portrayed - but I think we all agree that:

  • being enslaved by a brutal alien-race
  • having destroyed earth ourselves because we're no better than the most primitive animals after all
  • fighting against aliens who outweigh us not only in their large number but also in their intelligence and weapons because our governments didn't tell us they existed or because we're simply just an arrogant tiny planet in the universe thinking "a god" created us to be the only species in a unbelievable huge universe with a million of a million times more solar systems like our tiny 8 ½ solar system where we cannot even reach the nearest planet to ours (in galactic relations only a stone‘s throw from our mini-planet away)

are all not very good options either ;).

What sacrifices have to be made ?

You see all those issues are very controversial since they all eventually border into a fascistic Utopia/Dystopia where only a tiny fraction of humanity has a chance to survive (this is also called "the tragedy of Utopia").

Steven Hawking once commented on this by saying that a Utopia can never be reached by us humans because the requirements would be to high since a lot of sacrifices would have to be made. (One can only guess what falls into the category of "sacrifices" when it comes to survival in the universe).

Another reason why discussions of this topic are postponed or at least only held with the public excluded is that they are considered to cause disturbance. And that's really true, if you think about it, there's really no way of saving our whole planet and all it's inhabitants. Or at least not yet! One of the main reasons why science fiction is that popular amongst us humans - nobody knows how the future looks, there are an endless number of possible scenarios and hey - some of them really make a good movie ;).

After all we really do know nothing! But isn't that the driving force that's responsible for our development so far ? and isn't it this uncertainty that keeps us humans seeking the answers to all the questions we have?

Well I'd like to close this Hub with a very nice quote from Isaac Asimov!

"Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not. "

Viking 2 on Mars' Utopian Plain
Viking 2 on Mars' Utopian Plain | Source

Comments 10 comments

lxxy profile image

lxxy 5 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Hello there! Thanks for this wonderful Hub. :) (I caught it as you published it, I've been terribly busy on HubPages today!)

Wow. You raise excellent points, and even more questions.

As a) goes, quantifying intelligence is really hard to do. Intelligent compared to what? Another human being? What are their influences? How was their environment? What created more intelligence verses less intelligence? No doubt, troubling questions to begin to weed through.

But in b) you really lay down the numbers and the calculations---and I think many appreciate that. I certainly do!

Stephen Hawking is right, and from my studies on how to create utopia (and believe me, it's been possible for quite awhile now) you'd have to some how get everyone to play along, long enough for certain goals to be reached.

There would be stability, and more free time for all us humans, but the sacrifice would be on the number of available "options." In essence, we're discussing re-engineering society..err, as an engineer would.

That isn't to say it's not practical, and full of creature comforts, but as society was re-structured in a more logical way, many egos might get bruised.

Also, attempts to hi-jack, politicize, and polarize would be rather great in this juncture.

In essence, utopia isn't impossible, humanity can't deal on a fundamental social level as we are today.

Which, again, brings us to b). But in truth, if we could just set aside our differences--everything we've always needed as a species is out there, in abundance.

Who we'll be then, versus who we are today, will, with luck, be rather different.

In the great words of Rip Torn...

"We don't want to host an intergalactic kegger!"

Thanks again for being so inspired. Means much. It's rather reciprocal, as I lean back and take this all in again.

lxxy profile image

lxxy 5 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

I have edited in my link to your hub. Do you like it? http://bit.ly/hdMP4e Hope it's okay. If not, let me know. :)

RDSPhD profile image

RDSPhD 5 years ago from Earth Author

Hey thanks for your great comment! I really appreciate your opinion on this ;)

I have to say that all our efforts to answer the great questions that science dug up has to lead to even more questions but you're right point a) is highly controversial and I can't say much about it since I think that we should not be judged by numbers or clichés and that we should see humanity as on giant society rather than a class-system but this really leads to a lot more questions: I mean if you were to chose a thousand people to go to Mars, who would you chose?

Oh and concerning b) well I know this has been bothering me since I heard from some of my good physics colleagues that they couldn't get the 500 million Dollars for a Mars mission and the thing about "dealing with our own problems first" that clearly shocked me concerning that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan cost 400 millions A DAY (I mean WTF?!). But I guess these are all just signs that maybe humanity is really not ready for the big Universe waiting for us to be discovered...

Oh studies on the creation of utopia sounds interesting - I've noticed that you have many great Hubs and I've already found one dealing with dys- vs. u-topia so I definitely have to read them ;). But coming back to your comment - yes I think sacrifices have to be made but as soon as the words "re-engineering society" or even just "sacrifices" are mentioned people immediately think of a "1984, Brave New World, Equilibrium etc."-Dystopia ;) so that basically underlines what you said ("In essence, utopia isn't impossible, humanity can't deal on a fundamental social level as we are today.").

Yeah right, of all the things that are out there in abundance money is just a human invention and we cannot spare 500 millions of virtual numbers to go to Mars - how un-evolved is that? ;) But another fact is, that chances are we really start such a huge project it will be kept a secret, same for the discovery of extraterrestrial life. Kaku has something great to say about this issue:


Talking 'bout the kegger on earth;)

Well thanks again for the inspiration, I was wondering what my next Hub would be about but you helped me a lot to figure it out ;)

RDSPhD profile image

RDSPhD 5 years ago from Earth Author

Hey Ixxy, perfect, no really! Wow I got the best seat in the house/hub ;) Thanks a lot! *blush* Hope my edited linking is also fine ;)

lxxy profile image

lxxy 5 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Hey! It's funny, I watched that YouTube clip today :) Trying to find the best way to broach that subject, without really causing strife.

As far as a) goes, the problem is that society is not the same all across the board. Different cultures and economic statuses contribute. There's been a correlation between innovation and countries that have a more "equal" distribution of income, but I haven't delved too deep into it so I couldn't back that up myself.

b) Is totally it. It's our greatest concern right now.

As far as aliens from outer space, I do believe overall government would suppress information. I think people blew it during that famous radio performance of "War of the Worlds," but what others forget is that at the time it was a "revolutionary" piece of work because those just tuning in were not hearing a story, but an actual "news" piece, or sounded like one, anyway. Thats what caused the panic. It was more or less a giant joke.

I'm familiar with all those works (you mention), I loved Equilibrium's cinematography. People fear technology, just as much as they embrace it. But if they look close enough--they'll find our world has steadily changed over time because of technology and our willingness to implement it correctly.

I say correctly, because I'm not sure what we need more--a new iPhone or a cure for AIDS. It seems both, but only one is given precedence. ;)

Money is an invention, an idea, an outmoded technology--and so is interest rates. ;) But to go beyond it--we can't just dump it--we all have to work together on a more larger scale to ensure everyone has enough.

As far as Utopias are concerned, I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed my time with Jacque Fresco at the Venus Project. Man's pretty smart.

And passionate. Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVOPkGAtt48

Hope you get inspiration again soon. :)

lxxy profile image

lxxy 5 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

I blushed! Thank you for that link-in. :)

lxxy profile image

lxxy 5 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

And sorry I forgot to answer your question...what thousand people would I choose to send to mars?

I don't care. What would concern me most is that they were able to survive. It's not about "who" goes--it's whether "we" go! :)

Raven King profile image

Raven King 5 years ago from Cabin Fever

I read Ixxy's hub and saw your link there.

Interesting hub. I think you could write a hard science novel. :)

RDSPhD profile image

RDSPhD 5 years ago from Earth Author

Hey Raven King!

Wow, thanks for these nice words :)

I'm glad you liked it ;) Who knows, maybe some day I do, until then I collect all the Ideas my job gives me ;)

Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

I agree with the hard-knock evolution into anything evolving into a utopic/balanced reality...lxxy also made a great observation that what is rare should be worth less as it's usefullness or service is deleated.;)

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