Sure, an actual colony on Mars is still many years away, but quite frankly, I love the fact that someone is thinking about it. Elon Musk of the Tesla Motors and Space X appears to be seriously thinking about how we go about landing a sizable, permanent colony on mars and how much it going to cost.
And it is going to cost a lot. Once everything is establish and the initial costs have been taken care of, he reckons it'll get down to about half a million dollars per person. Still, it's something that I don't think we've had, as a species for a while now - something to look forward to or aspire to. It's a bright and shiny future in the making. I think the last time we had that was probably when the space race was at it's height, when massive efforts were being made to send people to the moon.
The one criticism I've heard of this was that we should shouldn't be spending so much money on something like this when there are so many problems here at the moment. I don't hold with this for a number of reasons. Fixing the problems here on Earth or going to Mars is not an either/or proposition. And if you think we shouldn't go anywhere until everything is fixed on earth, then we'll never go anywhere. There's always going to be another set of problems somewhere.
And to top it off, the benefits that will accrue from what we learn and the investments that will have to be made will, I think, outweigh the cost and provide benefits for everyone.
Either way, it's part of a bright and shiny future that I want to happen. So it makes me happy to know someone is getting on with it.