September 30, 2013
MY POSITION EXACTLY: So there’s no life on Mars — that just means there’s more room for us.
If Mars proves to be a dud, we will not be under any obligation to treat it as an irreplaceable nature preserve, any more than we do Earth’s moon—not that we are doing much with that yet. Instead of dreaming of a handful of doomed, miserable one-way colonists munching hydroponic quinoa in an inflatable tent, we could start imagining more ambitious terraforming projects, envisioning how we would change Mars on the grand scale in order to make it more habitable.
Want to hit Mars with nukes to construct underground caves for later occupation? Or seed it randomly with shiploads of our own hardy “extremophile” micro-organisms and see which ones thrive? Let’s go for it! Nobody’s using it! Maybe the party’s just getting started.