Drink ’til You’re Red in the Face on National Red Planet Day
Today is National Red Planet Day: commemorating our first view of Mars, 52 years ago. And much like love at first sight, we’ve projected all our hopes for the future onto the fourth planet from the Sun, since the Mariner 4’s successful flyby in 1964.
It’s the planet we set our sites on colonizing, due to the availability of water and potential to generate food and oxygen, and its extremely relative ease of access from Earth.
From ‘The Martian Chronicles’, (Ray Bradbury, 1950), to Philip K. Dick’s ‘We Can Remember it for You Wholesale’ (1966), to the most current book/turned film ‘The Martian’ (Andy Weir), we’ve explored the hypotheticals- fantasy, potential, consequences, and humanity- of our next horizon.
The reality is harder to measure. But two months ago, Elon Musk presented SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System. Without the Interplanetary Transport System, the estimated cost to colonize Mars is $10 billion a head. Musk hopes to reduce this cost by five million percent. At $200,000 a person, he believes the potential to create a new self sustaining civilization on Mars, is possible. The steps from 10 billion-200,000 are accounted for by achieving near perfection in the engineering of rocket reusability, (Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species). It’s a leap, but not unparalleled in human history….
But for today, there are a few things we can do, while we wait. For National Red Planet Day in Orlando Florida, drink and be entertained until you’re red in the face: