22 February 2013

Dreaming of Mars

On today’s #scistuchat, Adam Taylor asked

Should we dream to go to Mars?

I have mixed feelings about this now.

A couple of years ago, I went to Hawaii for the annual meeting of The Crustacean Society. And I did get to walk around in Honolulu a little while I was there. And it’s beautiful there.

I started trying to imagine what would it have been like to be the very first person to arrive on Waikiki beach. Or maybe take a trip in the TARDIS back to a time before human settlement. No people, no hotels, no tide walls... just the waves hitting the beach, and the trees covering the land going up the hills and mountains.

Oh, but the first people on Hawaii were lucky, lucky people.

I couldn’t help feeling we kind of spoiled it. Not entirely. But I would liked Waikiki more if it had much less of a human presence on it.

I was talking to a friend about parks in my old stomping grounds, Alberta. Everyone knows Banff National Park. It is beautiful, but I don’t think has been well served by the amount of development there. I used to love Waterton Lakes National Park, because it had remained true to the spirit of being a park, with much less development.

So images of these holes drilled on Mars by Curiosity give me pause:

As we have explored, we have not always done a great job of thinking about preservation. There may be some places that humans should only go rarely. Mars, or at least some parts of Mars, might be among those places.

Curiosity picture from here.

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