I have finished listening to the book How We’ll Live on Mars (TED Books) by Stephen L. Petranek. Like everyone in my generation I have been fascinated by space and I am big fan of Star Wars, Star Trek and every other space travel related science fiction. I think we are on the verge of actually becoming a multi-planetary species. There are obviously many challenges but if there is a point in time where a small group with resources and vision is striving to get us jump the evolutionary timeline, I would say it is now. I wrote about Elon Musk’s vision and quest for a fantastic future. In addition to Elon, there are a number of others who are committed to evolve our sense of adventure and exploration.
The author of the book How We’ll Live on Mars
gives a pretty good summary of the history of how this all started. What are the challenges in colonizing Mars you ask? well, to start with the distance, second we have limited knowledge of how to terraform the planet. There is enough evidence that there is water in Mars, however there are challenges on how we can harness and use it. Of course we have magic called Technology on our side and we should be able to solve these challenges. I am pretty sure almost all the problems are solvable, I am not saying they are easy, just solvable. At the least that is the sense I get from listening to this book. The biggest challenge of us getting to Mars is none of the above that I have listed, it is mostly a function of Economics. If we can get the economics of space travel to a reasonable level, the author and Elon Musk think that space travel and Mars colonization is feasible. The biggest challenge is the Capital Expenditure of the rockets, space ships, supplies and the colonization cost. We need to solve that problem to make this real and I am pretty sure we are well on the way. The first step in this journey is the reusability of rockets. Watch the video of SpaceX’s reusable rockets being tested the first video is from 2013 and second is from 2014, I think it is imminent that Elon will take the cake of the space travel business for solving the cost economics with this technological advancement.