Year 2050, 1000 Starships, 100 megatons of material transported, city of 1 million people: these are the predictions of Elon Musk, head of SpaceX agency for the planet Mars in the upcoming years. To him Mars is just a trip of 2 to 3 months away.
Year 2117, nanosatellites, dome settlements, 600 000 people: United Arab Emirates started their Mars 2117 Project, aiming to transform Martian deserts into glistening cities, much like they have done here on Earth.
These are just the top runners to conquer Mars. Are their dreams realistic or still in realms of science fiction? Have they accounted for all the difficulties – the known unknowns and the unknown unknows – or are these missions just a bold statement of human unending quest for exploration? Is pushing Martian boundaries a correct step forward for the human race?
Let us look at the pragmatic reasons for and against these missions, motivation, and consequences they bring, and discuss the physical, psychological and ethical aspects which are often overlooked in the popular context.