Thought Leadership

Back to Mars

By Colin Walls

There is a saying: “Be careful of what you wish for, as you might just get it.” It is odd how often this seems to apply to life. In my case, I wonder if there is a valid variant: “Be careful about having wacky ideas, as they might just come true.” I commonly post here about ideas which are not 100% serious, but hopefully have enough validity to not be beyond the realms of possibility. An example was my plan for the 8 day week.

Another idea was the one way trip to Mars, which looks like it could happen …

I have what may be considered a bad habit when I write blog posts about some of my more off-the-wall ideas: I tend not to research them significantly beforehand. This means that, if someone had the same idea before, I may be unaware. This could be because I am too lazy [and remember, I do not see laziness as a fault necessarily], but I prefer to suggest that it enables me to freely express my ideas without fear that I am unconsciously stealing from someone else.

It appears that my idea for a one way trip to Mars is under very active discussion by Mars One. They have gone beyond an idea and seem to have an actual plan! I so hope that this does come to fruition, but I am unlikely to volunteer myself – if nothing else, I am sure that they will want younger, smarter people. Interestingly, it might not end up being a one-way trip after all. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, has intimated that they have plans to make return trips to Mars much cheaper. Seems to me that Mars One and SpaceX should get together …

There are many people who ask why we should bother with such exploration. What is the point? I have no really good answer to that, except “because it is there”. However, 500 years ago people asked the same questions of explorers. How different would the world be if the doubters then had got their way? That would make an interesting “alternative history” novel.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at