On Monday, NASA officially confirmed the existence of water on Mars. This has come as a shocking yet exciting moment for the astronomical and global community, as many thought exploring Mars was a hopeless effort despite years of doing so. All of this research stems from our want to discover life on other planets. We, as humans, want to find other life forms in our massive and greatly unexplored universe. We want to feel less alone.
NASA used an imaging device on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, to confirm, “the watery flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface, long suspected to be associated with liquid water,” according to CNN. This innovation is a crucial step for astronomy and the search for other forms of life beyond Earth, because water is indicative of life. This could potentially mean other life forms exist. Although unlikely, these life forms could possibly be as complex as humans are. This entire scenario feels like an episode of the “Twilight Zone” or a cheesy Syfy movie.
But, okay, what does that mean for us as the human race? Even if we do find other life forms, who cares? Everyone should care, and I’ll tell you why. It gives us the chance to create a very different kind of future.
The Earth has been around for billions of years, and humanity has greatly abused it. Issues like pollution, global warming and the scarcity of natural resources are constantly discussed among environmentalists and the greater global community. The question of overpopulation is perpetually being discussed by scientists, as well. Who knows how long we will be able to sustain life on Earth?
But if we had somewhere else to go, wouldn’t that solve many of our potential future problems? Wouldn’t humans have a better chance at survival? This feels exactly like the movie “Interstellar.” Honestly, it’s the same plot.
Perhaps even more interesting is an organization called Mars One. This young and privately-funded foundation has plans to create a human colony on Mars by 2026. Essentially, they want Mars to be the future of humanity. People are even applying for their mission. And what’s so incredibly terrifying about signing up for this company’s voyage is that they intend for it to be a permanent settlement. People are signing up knowing that they are risking their lives and never seeing their family for friends again. If Mars One does launch a settlement, its members will push the frontiers of humanity and try to survive far beyond the current confines of the human race. Who knows if this mission, which is operating without government funding and on a very short time frame, will work?
But the most important thing to focus on right now is that they found water. We’re on our way to new discoveries, a greater understanding of life beyond Earth and perhaps even a new future.