“Exploring and colonizing Mars can bring us new scientific understanding of climate change, of how planet-wide processes can make a warm and wet world into a barren landscape. By exploring and understanding Mars, we may gain key insights into the past and future of our own world.”

Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut

Pros and Cons of Colonizing Mars

advantages and disadvantages of colonizing Mars

Our Planet Earth faces serious environmental problems. Therefore, in case we will not be able to solve all those problems, it could make sense to look out for alternatives in order to protect the human species from extinction in the future. One backup plan is to populate Mars. In fact, there are already plans to do so.

However, apart from the many advantages of colonizing Mars, there are also some issues related to this plan. In this article, the pros and cons of colonizing Mars are examined.

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Advantages of Colonizing Mars

  1. Colonizing Mars is one of the most promising backup plans for humanity
  2. Mars is relatively close to our Earth
  3. Colonizing Mars may become possible in just a few decades
  4. Many celebrities support those plans
  5. Many scientists advocate for this kind of backup plan
  6. Extraction of additional natural resources
  7. May help with the search for other life forms
  8. We could learn as global human species
  9. Humanity needs challenges to progress
  10. Knowledge is power
  11. May help to mitigate the overpopulation problem on Earth
  12. Colonizing Mars is an image project
  13. Future generations would be able to adapt quite quickly on Mars
  14. May be a good long-term investment for institutional investors

Colonizing Mars is one of the most promising backup plans for humanity

One major advantage of colonizing Mars is that it can be regarded as one of the most promising backup plans humanity has right now. As we all know, we face many serious environmental problems. However, little is done to solve those problems in time.

In case we will not be able to solve those problems on a global scale, chances are that our planet will suffer quite a lot and that our Earth may no longer provide us with suitable living conditions in a few centuries.

Moreover, there is always the risk for catastrophic events like meteorite impacts that could also wipe out the human species at one point in time.

Hence, having a backup plan instead of just relying on our Earth can be considered as quite a good idea in order to assure the survival of the human race.

Mars is relatively close to our Earth

Although it takes a while to get to Mars, it is still one of the closest planets to our Earth and compared to other alternatives out there in our universe, Mars is actually pretty close. Thus, also from a distance perspective, Mars is one of the most promising candidates for colonization since it will not take forever to get there.

Colonizing Mars may become possible in just a few decades

In fact, there are already plans for Mars missions in the near future. Our technology advances at enormous speed and if we continue to work hard on this mission, chances are that colonizing Mars will become possible in just a few decades. Sure, this doesn’t mean that hundreds of thousands of people will be sent to Mars.

It means that a few selected people will get the chance to settle on Mars and to have children. In the long run, we could build up a natural human population on Mars and after a few centuries, Mars may be the home for a significant number of people.

Many celebrities support those plans

There are numerous celebrities out there who greatly support the plan to colonize Mars in order to assure the survival of the human species. In fact, many celebrities are also willing to make their financial contribution in order to increase the chances of success of such a mission.

If many celebrities support Mars missions, chances are that also the acceptance in the general public regarding colonizing Mars would increase as well.

Many scientists advocate for this kind of backup plan

Not only celebrities, but also many scientists advocate having a backup plan in place. In fact, many scientists believe that our Earth will not provide us with proper living conditions forever and in a few centuries, it may become necessary to leave our Earth behind.

Consequently, it can make quite a lot of sense to invest significant amounts of money for research and development so that we will be able to colonize Mars sooner or later.

Extraction of additional natural resources

Another benefit of colonizing Mars is that it will enable us to extract significant amounts of additional natural resources. As we all know, we still rely on fossil fuels for our production processes on a global scale. However, fossil fuels are non-renewable and will become depleted sooner or later.

Hence, since the resources of our Earth will become depleted sooner or later, we need proper alternatives if we want to secure our high living standards. One way to do so is to exploit resources on Mars.

In fact, scientists estimate that there will be plenty of opportunities to extract precious resources from other planets in the future, which could also help us to mitigate the resource depletion problem on our Earth.

May help with the search for other life forms

Humans are often also fascinated with the idea of finding other life forms in our universe. In fact, for many decades, humans have tried to receive signals from extraterrestrial life. However, all tries have failed until now.

However, by colonizing Mars, we could expand our reach into the universe and the overall chances to connect to other life forms may also greatly increase due to that.

We could learn as global human species

In general, we could also learn quite a lot from colonizing Mars. In fact, colonizing Mars is a huge challenge for humanity which has never accomplished before. Thus, in order to make this mission successful, the best scientists from all around the world have to work together and share their ideas with each other.

In turn, this will not only increase the chances for a successful Mars colonization project, it will also strengthen the connection between scientists all over the world. In turn, chances are that also our technological progress will significantly improve in the future.

Humanity needs challenges to progress

From the beginning of mankind, humans have faced significant challenges. In fact, without challenges, life would become quite boring. Many people also see it as our obligation to make progress and to try out new things. Therefore, colonizing Mars can also be regarded as a big challenge that needs to be taken in order to progress as human species.

Knowledge is power

Colonizing Mars can not only be important for humanity as a whole, it can also give some countries an important edge for future development. In fact, knowledge is power and if a country develops the technology to colonize Mars, this could just be the beginning of space exploration as a whole.

In fact, the technologies invented for colonizing Mars could likely also be used for various other space projects in the future, which can be crucial to exploit resources in space and to get a leading position in the development of new technologies and on the global market in general.

May help to mitigate the overpopulation problem on Earth

Another upside of colonizing Mars is that it could also help us to mitigate the overpopulation problem on our Earth. In fact, our world population is growing and it may even exceed 10 billion people at the end of the 21st century.

However, it is rather questionable whether we could feed that many people and chances are that our earth will not be able to sustain such a high number of people in the long run.

In turn, we may need alternatives and one way to mitigate the overpopulation problem would be to colonize Mars since there would be more than enough space left compared to the confined space on our Earth.

Colonizing Mars is an image project

Since it is such a big challenge to colonize Mars, it can also be considered as big image project which could improve the global image of a country quite a lot. For instance, if one country makes a major contribution to the colonization of Mars, this will be part of human history and children all over the world will be taught that the respective country made a great contribution in this regard.

Future generations would be able to adapt quite quickly on Mars

While colonizing Mars may feel rather unfamiliar to the first people who will get there, it will feel rather normal for their children since they will not know how life on Earth would have been since they never experienced it. Thus, children who will be borne on Mars will likely have not too many problems accepting their destiny to stay and live on Mars.

May be a good long-term investment for institutional investors

Colonizing Mars may not only be beneficial for humanity, it may also be a great investment opportunity for international investors. In fact, if companies invest in such missions, chances are that they will be able to claim some property rights on Mars and those property rights may become extremely valuable in the long run.

Thus, for investors who accept to take a certain level of risk, investing in those kinds of space missions could also be extremely profitable off in the long run.

Disadvantages of Colonizing Mars

  1. Colonizing Mars is extremely expensive
  2. It takes a while to travel to Mars
  3. Lack of water may become a serious problem
  4. Plenty of insecurity involved in this plan
  5. Completely different living conditions
  6. Humans need protective equipment before going outside
  7. It’s freezing cold on Mars
  8. Some people have to make the beginning
  9. May not be justifiable from an ethical standpoint
  10. Colonizing Mars may conflict with religion
  11. Money can be better used to solve our problems on planet Earth
  12. Some scientists believe that efficient live on Mars will not be possible
  13. Quality of life on Mars would be much lower
  14. Rather insecure food supply
  15. Radiation may become a problem
  16. Still unclear if living on Mars is sustainable
  17. We would alter the balance in our universe
  18. Colonizing Mars can be dangerous
  19. Space exploration implies significant pollution
  20. Other life forms may not be welcoming towards us humans
  21. Short-term costs vs. long-term gains

Colonizing Mars is extremely expensive

Although there are several advantages to colonizing Mars, there are still some problems with it. For instance, one important problem with colonizing Mars is that it can be extremely expensive. In fact, many billions of dollars have to be invested in R&D.

Moreover, also the Mars missions that have to be done before the colonization of Mars will be possible are quite costly as well. Hence, colonizing Mars implies significant overall costs and in case this project fails, many billions of dollars will be lost.

It takes a while to travel to Mars

Even though Mars is one of the planets that are closest to our Earth, it still takes a few months to get there. Hence, Mars missions will also be quite time-consuming, which also implies that it will take quite a lot of time until the colonization of Mars will eventually be a realistic option. Thus, we as humans will need plenty of patience since colonizing Mars is not an overnight project.

Lack of water may become a serious problem

Another downside of colonizing Mars is that there might not be sufficient water on this planet. While scientists believe that there will be a certain amount of groundwater on Mars, it may not be sufficient for a high number of people populating this planet.

Since water is crucial for all life on Earth, a lack of water would also imply that there would be difficulties to grow plants and so on. Hence, a lack of water could be a major issue of Mars colonization which could potentially prevent success of the whole mission.

Plenty of insecurity involved in this plan

In general, colonizing Mars is also a rather insecure project. Since it has never been done before, we as humans have no experience with colonizing Mars and there might be many problems we still don’t know about yet.

Hence, we should not consider the colonization of Mars as a viable option that will become possible in the near future. It is rather a vague plan that may fail due to various issues that we even not know about yet.

Completely different living conditions

Life on Mars would also look completely different from the life we currently live on Earth. In fact, life on earth evolved over millions of years and we as human species developed and adapted over many thousands of years to the living conditions on our planet. However, we never adapted to the living conditions on Mars and chances are that our body will not be made for those conditions at all.

Thus, this also implies that humans colonizing Mars would have far less freedom regarding how to live their lives since they would always have to make sure to protect themselves against the various threats that are implied by living on Mars.

Humans need protective equipment before going outside

In general, Mars does not provide us with the same nice conditions as we know it from our Earth. In fact, people populating Mars would be forced to wear proper protective equipment all day long, which could greatly decrease the overall quality of life of those people. Hence, life on Mars would just look completely different and chances are that humans would simply not be made for it.

It’s freezing cold on Mars

Another disadvantage of colonizing Mars is that the outside temperature will be quite cold. In fact, even in summer, the temperature on Mars would still be quite cold and therefore, humans would likely never be able to leave their protected homes since they would soon die from those extremely cold conditions.

Some people have to make the beginning

It is the nature of the game that some people have to make the beginning when it comes to the colonialization of Mars. However, volunteering for this kind of mission takes quite a lot of courage.

Imagine you apply for such a mission and have to leave all your family members and friends behind. This can be emotionally challenging, especially since you know that you will never come back and will also die on Mars.

May not be justifiable from an ethical standpoint

Opponents of Mars colonialization also often claim that it can also not be justified from an ethical perspective. In fact, many people think that we as humans have been borne on planet Earth for a specific reason and that we should stay on this planet instead of departing to the stars.

Colonizing Mars may conflict with religion

Colonizing Mars may also be problematic from a religious perspective. In fact, many people think that exploring space is not in line with religious values. Many people claim that leaving our earth behind can be considered as sort of playing god and that we as humans should not do so under any circumstance.

Money can be better used to solve our problems on planet Earth

Opponents of Mars colonialization also often claim that the large amounts of money that have to be spent on Mars missions could be much better spent to solve our environmental problems on earth.

In fact, if we want to ensure a livable future for the next generations on Planet Earth, we will have to spend plenty of money on the energy transition process in this money may be missing if we spent too much of it on Mars explorations.

Some scientists believe that efficient live on Mars will not be possible

Many scientists also believe that due to the many problems that are implied by colonizing Mars, efficient life on Mars would never be possible. While it may be possible for humanity to survive, people may never be able to really enjoy life on Mars and without joy, what sense should it make to live on this planet?!

Quality of life on Mars would be much lower

In general, even though it might become possible to colonize Mars in a few decades, the overall quality of life would be much lower compared to life on earth. While we are free to go outside whenever we want to on our earth, this will not be true at all on Mars since it would simply be too cold for it and also the atmosphere will not be suitable to stay outside for a longer period of time.

Hence, people on Mars would also be forced to stay inside most of the time, which may greatly lower their overall quality of life in the long run.

Rather insecure food supply

Another danger of colonizing Mars is that there will also be significant problems with ensuring our food supply. Since there will be a lack of water on Mars, people would also not be able to grow sufficient amounts of crops and in turn, the food supply on Mars would be rather insecure.

In times of bad crop harvests, people may simply not have enough food to survive and in the long run, many people living on Mars may also starve due to that.

Radiation may become a problem

Radiation levels on Mars would also be quite different from radiation levels on Earth. In fact, many scientists believe that people on Mars would have to wear additional protective equipment in order to protect themselves against this sort of radiation, which could further decrease the overall quality of life for people colonizing Mars.

Still unclear if living on Mars is sustainable

Opponents of Mars colonization also often claim that living on Mars will simply not be sustainable in the long run. In fact, it is rather unclear how to feed people on Mars and how to overcome all the problems associated with such a mission.

Hence, plenty of research will still be necessary to overcome all those issues before humans will be able to carry out such a mission in a successful manner.

We would alter the balance in our universe

Colonizing Mars is a project that is quite unique and has never been done by humanity before. Thus, we also don’t have any experience regarding how this would affect the overall balance in our universe and we should be quite careful since we simply don’t know of how the long-term consequences of colonizing Mars would look like.

Colonizing Mars can be dangerous

Colonizing Mars can also be considered to be rather dangerous. In fact, every space mission implies some dangers. However, colonizing Mars is probably the most challenging space mission humanity ever tried to achieve and therefore, the dangers related to this mission may be much higher compared to other space missions that had been done in the past.

Space exploration implies significant pollution

Another problem with colonizing Mars is that it also implies significant levels of pollution. In fact, large amounts of fossil fuels and other resources have to be used to construct and to fuel rockets that have the potential to reach Mars.

In turn, this also implies significant air pollution and may also contribute to global warming. Thus, colonizing Mars can also be harmful from an environmental perspective.

Other life forms may not be welcoming towards us humans

While humans are often fascinated with finding other life forms, those life forms may not necessarily welcoming towards humans. In fact, some scientists argue that it might not be a good idea at all to explore Mars since it could raise awareness of other life forms on the fact that humanity actually exists. In turn, other life forms may try to wipe our humanity.

Short-term costs vs. long-term gains

The colonization of Mars is also a long-term goal. Thus, while there might be many benefits of colonizing mars in the long run, the short-term costs may simply be enormous and governments and private investors may simply not be willing to provide those enormous amounts of money since the returns may only become visible many decades or even centuries ago.

Hence, there may also be a significant issue with raising enough funds for those missions.

Top 10 Colonizing Mars Pros & Cons – Summary List

Colonizing Mars ProsColonizing Mars Cons
Colonizing Mars can help us to surviveColonizing Mars is really expensive
Hedge against catastrophic disastersColonizing Mars is time-consuming
Mars is relatively close to our EarthIt takes a little bit of time to get there
Colonizing Mars may help to extract resourcesLack of water may be a serious problem
We can learn a lot during this missionAgriculture may not be possible
May help to deal with the overpopulation issueMars is freezing cold
Colonizing Mars is an image projectImplies problems with radiation
May be a good investment opportunityInsecure food supply
Humanity needs challenges to move forwardColonizing Mars can be dangerous
Can help with the search for other life formsSpace exploration implies pollution

Should We Colonize Mars?

As we can see from the argumentation above, there are many advantages and disadvantages of colonizing Mars. In my opinion, it is a good idea to have a backup plan in case of emergency.

However, we should also try to solve our global environmental problems on Earth since our planet will still be the one that provides us with the best living conditions by far.

Sources

https://mars.nasa.gov/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Mars

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_Mars

http://www.mars-one.com/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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