The interests of the Mars Society—an organization with the overarching goal of colonizing Mars—tend to elicit snickers from non-space fans. Why talk about building homes on Mars when we have problems on Earth like war, bird flu, AIDS and global warming? To the Mars enthusiast, these scourges simply count among the reasons to ditch this rock and head for the Red Planet.
Robert Zubrin, the founder of the Mars Society, likes to point out that Columbus encountered similar resistance from noobs when he pointed across the Atlantic. But Zubrin isn’t a seafarer—he's a scientist, with calculations that say people could create an oxygen atmosphere on Mars in just over 1,000 years. Compare that with other scientists’ predictions of 20,000 or 100,000 years, and he might seem like he's peddling interplanetary snake oil, but there’s no denying that his scheme for “terraforming” is thoroughly conceived.
Click here for an illustrated guide to Zubrin’s six-step plan for inhabiting Mars.
I like Zubrin's ideas and I'm all for the future efforts to colonize and terraform Mars. In fact, I'd love to visit the red planet one day... I don't know about living there, but at least an extended vacation.
Well, we're definitely headed in the right direction. With NASA's recent announcement of a Permanent Moon Base, we'll have a great place to stage Mars missions from! Hopefully Mars Bases and terraforming will progress quickly from there.
The very idea of terraforming is fascinating! Check out the Terraforming Wiki Page for an interesting read, cool pics and other links.
If this is a subject that interests you, I highly recommend Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy - consisting of Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. In this awesome work of science fiction, Robinson delves into the technological, social and political aspects in a realistic future of Martian colonization and terraforming. You'll find no light-sabres or warp drives in these books... just down-to-earth, well-written sci-fi!!!