The song already said: One Elon musk bothers many people, many Elons musk much more. The billionaire owner of SpaceX and Tesla’s obsession with colonizing Mars, accompanied by many lovers of space exploration (including the one who writes to you), has been wrongly equated with a symbol of the most voracious and parasitic capitalism that can exist.
The premise that these critics deviate from is that the idea that we can build a life on the red planet against the increasing destruction (the “cattle past”) of our own biosphere is nothing more than tact. And they are 100% right in that. There is no substitute for the earth. It is wrong to attribute this mentality to plans for spatial colonization.
First, let’s avoid the fact that Elon is a weird guy (to be friendly) who occasionally talks nonsense, acts like a spoiled kid, has irresponsible attitudes in the pandemic, and drives astronomers crazy by being Thousands of people launched satellites into orbit. But also remember that one of your best moments is building technology and the market from scratch to enable the advent of electric cars – hailed today as an integral part of avoiding a future of devastating climate change. Musk cares for the earth.
In his obsession with Mars, the billionaire only points out that having a backup for terrestrial life in another corner of the solar system is a good idea. Not as a means to support the parasitism of the earth or out of an immeasurable ambition of eternal economic growth (the wrong dogma that many liberal economists pray for), but for something profound and humanistic.
The tragedy of human existence is widely recognized in the arts and sciences. At the individual level, we know that at some point we will all die. On a collective level, we know that the existence of life on earth – and earth itself – is finite as well. In contrast, we have looked at the stars for millennia and so far only thought about our own loneliness. The concept of protecting the earth is based on the recognition of its special quality: life. And we know that there is finite protection in space and time.
Part of our existence, individually and collectively, is defined by these perceptions. We have children to whom we leave the future, and the considered finitude of our existence leads us to search for a life worth living.
As an intelligent species, we are the guardians of life on earth. But beyond that, we can be the main tool for dissemination. The earth can have children! Bringing life to Mars is perhaps the most precious thing humanity can do to justify its own existence.
The red planet looks barren today (hypothesis has yet to be confirmed). But it can have a living future in human colonies, and much more so with the introduction of a Martian biosphere created from within the Earth. The earth can have children! It is a legacy humanity can be proud of despite its evils: bringing life to at least one other world in the universe.
This column is published in Folha Corrida on Mondays.
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