Futurism Magazine had a recent story in which it polled a number of experts to list all the reasons we should not try to colonize Mars for the foreseeable future. The reasons include that it is too far away, that the conditions are too severe, that a Mars colony does not have an economic benefit for Earth, and that colonizing Mars is just too expensive. To be sure, these are all valid reasons to not undertake the settlement of the Red Planet for the foreseeable future. However, three reasons exist for sending human colonists to make new homes on Mars.

Mars could be Earth 2.0.

One reason that Elon Musk of SpaceX gives for wanting to settle Mars, besides the fact that it would be so cool and awesome, is that it could serve as an Earth 2.0. Mars would be a backup planet just in case Earth gets destroyed or damaged enough to make human life unviable. The list of disasters that can end humanity is a long one, including asteroid strikes, nuclear war, and an environmental catastrophe. The rationale, by the way, seriously annoys the environmentalists, who claim that people who favor Mars colonies think the Earth is a disposable planet.

Mars as a way to get away from other people

Let’s face it. No matter what part of the political divide you are at, you have to find people who disagree with you annoying and even dangerous.

A tea party, Small Government person has to be continuously irritated that they have to share the same country or even the same planet with other people who think socialism is a great idea and want to impose it on everyone. At the same time, Bernie Sanders supporters have to be in a constant state of outrage because the “deplorables” are standing in the way of single-payer health care and free education.

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A Mars colony provides a solution to the political divide. The small government, libertarian people can immigrate to a place where their vision of civilization prevails and is not in danger of being overturned. Other people who want a socialist utopia will have another Mars colony where their ideas prevail. It will be interesting to see which system proves to be the most viable on a hostile planet 100 million miles away.

Mars as the next frontier

Finally, Robert Zubrin, the foremost advocate for going to Mars, suggests that the mere presence of Mars as a new frontier will help to reinvigorate human civilization back on Earth. The effort to settle that frontier and to develop the technology to do so will have a ripple effect that will benefit the mother planet in ways that cannot be easily predicted.