New Space, 446, in press.
This paper looks at the prospect of liberating Mars from the controlling interests of governments and private organizations, and encouraging human settlement on the planet. The author suggests that instead of extending the present day civilization on the Red Planet, it would be wiser to establish an autonomously functioning human civilization. Liberating Mars will entitle humans with a sense of planetary citizenship and no corporate colonies on Earth will be able to interfere with this model of Mars.
In today’s world, humanity faces major problems such as overpopulation, climate change, and poverty among many others. In order to reduce these impacts on our civilization, we must extend our morality. Venturing out of our comfort zone and experiencing new things will push us to think and act in a different manner. These transformative events will challenge our preconceived notions and enable us to consider new perspectives. The effects of transformative experiences, however, varies from individual to individual and are impossible to predict.
It is believed that stepping on the Martian soil will carry enormous transformative value to the citizens of Earth. Some private organizations have plans to establish a permanent settlement on Martian land in the near future. This implies that they are claiming ownership over the planet, which according to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is forbidden. Other problems such as the equal sharing of finite resources of Mars and colonization by various countries arise. In order to avoid these complications, new policies need to be implemented for appropriate land use on Mars.
Liberation of the Red Planet can transform our preferences and maybe allow us to resolve global issues. This can be effectively achieved by creating an autonomously functioning human civilization rather than extending our present civilization. Provisions such as allowing humans to permanently settle on Mars by offering them planetary citizenship as Martians but revoking their citizenship as Earthlings, restricting interference from governments and corporations on political and socio-economic matters, and permitting only Martians to make all the decisions regarding the land and resource use, should be made.
Mars is on our horizon and humanity will be transformed by the ways in which we decide to use it. We should make conscious efforts to discover innovative methods of
avoiding past mistakes in space explorations. At the end, our goal should be to develop Mars as an individual planet with its own set of rules and regulations and hope for the development of a wonderful new civilization.