The Utopia Planitia shipyards above Mars in the 24th century.
According to this article, there is now definitive proof that Mars once contained flowing water. We’ve suspected for years that Mars once harbored liquid water on its surface, a good indication life may have once been found on our near planetary neighbor. Now we know for sure that it definitely did have liquid water. What does this mean for us? Might we, as the picture above, eventually terraform and colonize Mars and build something like a Starfleet Presidio-class space station in orbit over it? My question is whether we have the right to do so. I think the answer depends on whether there is any life on Mars today. If there is, we would more than likely destroy it by terraforming Mars’ environment to better suit ourselves. But then we run into a bit of a conundrum, because don’t we as a species have a right to propagate and ensure our survival? Right now we are confined to Earth, and as the saying goes, we’ve got all our eggs in one basket. What is the measure by which we determine how possible alien life on Mars compares to the billions of humans of Earth?
Perhaps if NASA develops its warp drive in the next few decades such a terraforming and colonization of Mars would be more likely, and such an academic question will become more existential.
Something just hinted at in The Original Series, peaked at in the Enterprise series, but fully fleshed out for the first time in novels. It tells the tale of humanity eagerly seeking out new life and new civilizations, boldly going where no one has gone before, only to be brutally attacked by a faceless enemy. Don’t worry though, unlike most other sci fi stories of this nature, it won’t lead to humanity compromising its highest principles to win, or humanity being crushed under an alien heel and thrown down into abject subjugation. But, the beauty of the novels (sadly just two) is that at times humanity is tempted to do so, but in the end chooses not to, and still triumphs. That rocks.
The journey is often more worthwhile then the conclusion, so we get to discover the specifics of the War we’ve never been told before. I don’t want to spoil it too much for anyone of you that wants to read the novels, but there’s a lot of homage paid to the television series (ENT and TOS), but it’s not beholden to it, insofar as the nitty gritty details are concerned. This strategy of the novels really sells it, and makes it a worthwhile read because you don’t have to have watched any of the television series or movies to enjoy the books. Simultaneously, if you are a big Trek fan, this book will be equally enjoyable, if not more so for you.
So here are some of the starships you’ll see in those novels:
It’s funny the kind of conversations you can have when tired and on a caffeine high driving down the Interstate at half past 10 at night. My wife and I were discussing her belief that humanity returning to its natural roots, whether in the consumption of organic matter (not that highly-processed stuff so many of us eat now) or a life with less reliance on technology, would lead to a greater spiritual connection with God.
We soon began discussing how our advancing medical technology may soon make it possible for humanity to replace failing organs with lab-grown substitutes or with artificial metal or plastic replacements. We soon began discussing whether a human whose memory is transferred to a machine would truly be considered human. This led to a question many have pondered before us; what does it mean to be human? Would a machine with all the memories, hopes, dreams, emotions, and foibles of a human being actually be a human being, or would it simply be a fancy copy? Can machines like Data from Star Trek, that exhibit awareness of their surroundings, demonstrate a desire for self-preservation, strive to better themselves, and to create more of their own kind, actually be conscious beings? Perhaps they are merely sophisticated machines, and that is all they are. How can we even measure consciousness when we cannot even define it for ourselves? Who’s to say that life and consciousness as we know it on Earth is the only kind that there is in this vast universe?
We discussed more than just these topics on our drive, including but not limited to: Organic machines, transferring human consciousness remotely to organic machines/machines to explore hostile environments, etc. But those are topics for another day!