Viewpoint – Please don’t let SpaceX make it to Mars first

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

Space: The Final Frontier. 

Not that long ago, the idea of exploring space was something people could only imagine through television or film. 

Growing up and watching Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century made me long for a day where I could don shiny neon outfits, cause a ruckus on the floating space station I called home and, most importantly, have Protozoa call me a Supernova Girl.

However, the reality of living in space or colonizing another planet is impending. Tesla owner Elon Musk established his own company, SpaceX, with the intent to get to Mars for colonization. And business magnate Richard Branson started Virgin Galactic.

In an era where NASA’s budget has been slashed considerably, having incredibly wealthy businessmen funnel their money into space exploration seems like a godsend at face value. What it really means, though, is space exploration will be dictated by money and the whims of people who don’t have scientific discoveries prioritized. 

Last February, Musk sent a $100,000 Tesla car to space where it currently is free-floating above the Earth. It was supposed to be for a rocket test that was successful in not blowing up the car or the dummy spaceman strapped inside. It was good the car didn’t blow up, but it just leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth about the fiscally irresponsible stunt. Would NASA have done something like that? They sent a golden record with Voyager in 1977. Was it that obnoxious then? 

In this respect, space very much is a new frontier and as humans, it’s only natural to explore the unexplored, the uncharted. It’s how this country expanded west. But, colonization on this planet didn’t work out in many aspects. How will it be any different out in the wildly unpredictable space? It already sounds like the average human couldn’t afford it with Musk quoting the moving price for an individual above $100,000 initially back in May 2017.

Even more than that, ethically, we have no claim to Mars. Earth can naturally support human life. Colonizing would require us to change the landscape of a planet like Mars.

We have one planet. If we can’t take care of it, why do we deserve a second planet to try again?