The earth’s human population is growing at an astronomical rate. The United Nation’s Department of Economic & Social Affairs states that earth’s population has grown to 7,349,472,000 this year, about 4 billion over (or more than double) what it was in 1950. The same UN agency estimates earth’s population will be 7,758,157,000 in 2020; 9,725,148,000 in 2050; and a whopping 11,213,317,000 in 2100.
Where on earth would all these people live?
By the year 2100, there will no place on earth that the human race can expand to – man would have occupied, developed, and abused every inch of habitable space on the planet. Humans will desperately need to be able to settle in new lands across space, or devise measures on earth to reduce and then control population. The latter is claimed not to be a viable option, hence, the former – to settle in new territories across space – appears to be the best opportunity.
And so the search begins for habitable outer space planets.
There are thirty-one “habitable exoplanets” that are equal to the size of earth or larger, according to the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. But there is a problem with these exoplanets: the closest one to earth is 12 light years away! In other words, if one travelled at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers/second or 186,000 miles/second) it would take one twelve years to get to that planet! And to travel at the speed of light, one would have to convert to light.
So, none of these known habitable exoplanets is an option – as of today, that is.
Let’s get back down to earth – and be realistic.
NASA (the National Aeronautical & Space Administration) has just confirmed the discovery of salty water on neighboring planet Mars, which is part of our own solar system. That’s the good news. How far is Mars from earth? More good news: Mars is anywhere between 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers) and 250 million miles (401 million kilometers) away from earth – depending on their positions with respect to the sun. The average distance to Mars from earth is 140 million miles (225 million kilometers).
How long will it take to get to Mars?
About 260 days. Well, that depends on the speed at which you travel and the distance of the planet from earth at the particular time. According to the website Space.com, a trip to Mars could take anywhere between 39 and 289 days, or on the average, 162 days. But it’s not all that easy and certain – the trip’s distance and duration could be anyone’s guess.
So what’s the point?
The point is that NASA has plans to place humans on Mars long before the year 2100. In 2020, NASA plans a robotic presence on Mars to help develop technology that will protect humans on the planet from the effects of radiation (remember, Mars has no ozone layer). And by 2035, NASA plans an actual human occupation of Mars.
The human race will be able to save itself from extinction.
See you on Mars!