NASA’s rover Curiosity has made an exciting discovery–the soil of Mars contains about two percent water by weight. This means that any colonizers would be able to extract about one pint of water per square foot of Martian dirt.
This discovery suddenly makes the idea of people living on Mars a lot more feasible, a lot more real and close. There could realistically be a permanent settlement on the red planet within my lifetime.
What would having a second planet do for humanity? For one, I think it would unite us. Because it’s not going to be only Americans or Europeans or Russians or Chinese living up there. It will be many people from many places–but all from Earth.
If we can see our planet as one of many, around a star that is one of many, maybe we will care less about the lines drawn on our maps of it and be more concerned with our planet, and our selves as a whole.
Over the course of history humanity has become more and more united, moving from roving bands of a few dozen, to a few hundred, to cities of thousands, to collections of cities, to countries, then to groups of countries that all work together. We need to make the final step of uniting as a planet, and we need to make it soon.