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.
It sounds like science fiction, but in fact NASA is working on a real-life warp drive. Theoretically, with this technology we could achieve interstellar travel with effective speeds of 10c! We would be able to travel to nearby stars and the planets that surround them all within a human lifetime. The possibilities are just endless. It fills me with such terrible hope for the future of humanity that we will be able to escape the womb of mother Earth and finally reach the stars! What wondrous opportunities for humanity will this herald?
Simultaneously I am filled with equal amounts of trepidation, for what terrible dangers will we discover? Aggressive species? Unforeseen space phenomena? Technical difficulties that lead to us being lost in space? Unknown killer viruses from alien worlds?
Perhaps we will discover less-advanced species nearby and instead of following our own history and taking advantage of them, we will, like the Vulcans in Star Trek, merely send something like a Vulcan Survey Ship to observe and perhaps help them on their way to the stars.
The I.S.S., the International Space Station, that intricate marvel of human engineering floating in space, the single largest artificial satellite ever built by humankind. A place of experiments and observations, a place where humans from all Earthly nations can work together, striving for peace and goodwill, all alone in the night.
In the spirit of that august installation, I’ve updated my starships page with two new … well, not starships, but space stations. First up is the venerable Starfleet K-class outpost, made famous by the Trouble with Tribbles classic episode.
Set in the same era, but covered mostly in the Vanguard novels, is the Starfleet Watchtower-class starbase. I’ve got to say that I don’t normally get into reading Star Trek novels set during the Original Series timeframe. But for whatever reason, I’ve just started this series and really enjoy revisiting the classic crew of Kirk, Spock, etc. Perhaps it’s the fact that they have a cameo appearance by Matt Decker, such a tragic starship captain, forced to watch his crew get eaten by the Planet Killer. Whatever quality sets it apart from the other novels I’ve tried to read in that era, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read so far!