Dr Mary Brown chokes on the idea that “we are seriously planning to colonise Mars” while “the Western world” has been responsible for financial chaos, destabilisation of the Middle East and creating a “survival-of-the fittest culture” (Letters, 4 July).
Does Dr Brown not believe in exploration? Does she think that mankind should forever limit its ambitions to this planet? Our ancient ancestors left Africa on a worldwide exploration that has hardly been completed.
The US and other American states would not exist without the urge to explore. Exploration will not stop; mankind has to struggle from its home to colonise other worlds, if only, as Stephen Hawking has pointed out, to have a lifeboat in case of catastrophe here.
Mars is the obvious second home, which is why Nasa is making preparations, albeit not yet for colonisation.
However, it is not just a Western ambition. China also has a space programme and could also aim for Mars.
The financial and cultural problems Dr Brown refers to will exist regardless of space exploration; they may even be ameliorated by it.
So the answer to her question is “yes”. But the “we” is not the UK or even the European Space Agency; it is the US and China and the Mars Society.
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