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Let’s not use Mars as a backup planet
Lucianne Walkowicz   Dec 24, 2015   TED Talks  

Stellar astronomer and TED Senior Fellow Lucianne Walkowicz works on NASA’s Kepler mission, searching for places in the universe that could support life. So it’s worth a listen when she asks us to think carefully about Mars. In this short talk, she suggests that we stop dreaming of Mars as a place that we’ll eventually move to when we’ve messed up Earth, and to start thinking of planetary exploration and preservation of the Earth as two sides of the same goal. As she says, “The more you look for planets like Earth, the more you appreciate our own planet.”

"Earth is not our cradle, or even our home; rather, it is a whole, of which we are inextricably a part."

--John Michael Greer

Mars is not a "backup planet." We don't even know if humans can survive long-term under Martian gravity, assuming we manage to solve all the <i>other</i> complex life-support issues. Even after a full-scale nuclear war, Earth would be a paradise compared to Mars or anywhere else in the Solar System.

The living conditions of any space colony we could build in the foreseeable future (assuming everything works and it's not a death-trap) would be worse than what any civilized country would tolerate in a prison: tiny, cramped spaces, can't ever go outside (except after the complex procedure of climbing into a spacesuit, which is really just an even smaller "inside" than a ship or base), can't have pets, hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of kilometers away from your loved ones, constant peril, etc. The only redeeming quality for inmates/residents is that it's IN SPAAAACE, but how long would that really last as a "cool factor?"

As far as human life goes, Earth is as good as it gets. So lets make sure not to trash the place, OK? There is no Planet B.
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