WHY CONQUER MARS WHILE EARTH IS YET TO BE CONQUERED?


The 26th POTUS Theodore Roosevelt said that nothing in the world is worth having or doing unless it means pain, efforts and difficulty. He continues by saying that never in his life had he envied a human who led an easy life, but instead envied those who lived the most difficult lives. Probably this phrase is what can be used to explain the unending man’s appetite to satisfy his spirit of adventure even in dangerous, complicated , unrewarding and very difficult horizons. Man has proven that just as Roosevelt said, it is only those who lead difficult and painful lives that should be envied. Well, that’s exactly what William Goldman meant when he said that life is pain and highness, whoever tells you otherwise is selling something.
This love for complicated undertakings is best illustrated by the numerous space explorations that man has got himself into. Indeed, apart from the meteors, the space is currently full of rockets and other artificial bodies planted by man to help in unravelling his love for mystery. In fact it has got to a point where countries are competing each other in the war of space, a war of who can marshal the best tools to conquer the space. The space race of 20th century between the then USSR and USA in the middle of the cold war made Yuri Gagarin the first man in the space and Neil Armstrong the first one to land on a foreign body (the moon for that matter).Space exploration has always fascinated me as it shows what we can achieve when we unleash our potential. However, hold those thoughts for a minute, is space exploration any beneficial to humanity?
I will yell a fat NO and in my defense I would argue that it is not really a priority as compared to issues that mother Earth desperately needs addressed. Of my particular interest is the Mars exploration. I opine that journeys to Mars, and even plans to make it an alternative home for man is untimely, unwise and illogical. Mars is the closest planet to earth with a distance of 33.9 million miles (Mars will be extremely close to earth in 2287). Our red neighbor has similarities to our mother earth and it is thought to have once hosted life. Well, that’s irrelevant for now. What’s relevant is the shocking costs that have been spent in exploring this lonely neighbor.
Since the advent of Mars exploration, billions of US Dollars have been spent in various missions. In 2021 alone, the NASA’s perseverance Rover mission cost up to US$2.9 Billion, China’s Tianwen 1 had nearly a Billion Dollars pumped into it and UAE’s Hope Orbiter cost US$ 200 million. Some other notable missions that cost humanity a fortune include the 1970s Viking 1&2 project which cost up to $ 1 Billion then, and the 2011 Curiosity Rover which consumed US$2.5 Billion. These are just among other hundreds of heavy expenditure that I view were very unfair for humanity.
At the moment, The Earth is facing a myriads of challenges and it would seem more humane for governments to spend huge amounts in resolving these emergencies rather than trying to establish life in some other planet. Earth is our home and we need to own it. US, home to NASA has 590, 00 homeless people and it would take less than $100 million to settle this population . About 1.6 Billion people are either homeless or living under inadequate shelter worldwide. Another 690 million people worldwide are living in hunger. These numbers will continue swelling if governments continue to spend Billion in satisfying spirit of adventures and neglecting the basis of humanity on earth. This however does not underscore the important role played by such explorations, but humanity is far much important , necessary and urgent. In the words of Dalai Lama, “ Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries, without them humanity seizes to exist.”

By Lincoln Oyugi

Just as Isaac Newton died a virgin, I'll die a writer!

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