I saw a picture the other day of an "Earthrise" taken from the surface of The Moon and it got me thinking.
The first time a person landed on The Moon was back in 1969 and sometime after "The One Giant Leap For Mankind" either Buzz or Neil (probably both) had looked up at the Earth and must of thought how peaceful it looked, all blue, green and brown, with a spattering of white.
But the Earth wasn't peaceful and never had been, not in 1969, not 5,000 BC, and prob not in 2069, sad to say. But in 1969 The Moon was peaceful, while up above on Earth, The Vietnam War was almost ten years old and going strong, Israel was sparring with its Arab neighbors, Africa was in turmoil while it tried to break free and shed the last remnants of European Colonialism, and America was being ripped apart by all the chaos brought on by Vietnam, The Civil Rights Movement and its detractors, the counter-culture clashing with the old guard, assassinations, and fear of communism.
But on The Moon there was none of that bullshit; on July 20th 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were standing upon the most peaceful place in a 500,000 mile radius. As opposed to The Earth, The Moon was a blank slate, a place for humans to start all over and to do things the right way; a place that would force people with differences to work together as a society if the society was to survive.
In the next 20 years or sooner, the first man (or woman) will be walking the surface of Mars. To me, Mars is another blank slate, just like The Moon only better. You cant see The Earth from Mars and future inhabitants will have little connection to the "Home World"...but I gotta back up.
Perhaps 20 years after the first man (or woman) steps foot on Mars, there will be a fully functioning Martian Colony; the first seed of a new civilization, and the only real shot, I think, for humans to put aside or come to terms with their differences and to cultivate a genuinely peaceful society.
Sounds lame and nerdy, huh? But think about it; 6 billion (and counting) of us share The Earth, Its up to us how we want to live so it seems really messed up that we choose to live by killing one another by the bushel full instead of working things out amicably. I know our way of life goes back 200,000 years and that some groups of people will never get along with each other because the hurt, hatred, and fear runs too deep between the two so that they could never reconcile. And I'm not saying that everyone needs to be the same, I'm just saying that we need a chance to learn how to be different, and still coexist.
Thats where Mars comes in. The first real settlements will thrive or die based on how well the people living within can work together since the environmental dangers will outweigh personal gain. And maybe in the 22nd century the first generation of true Martians will be born on Mars and thats when my plan can really take effect: the families who will give birth to The First Martian Generation will have already spent the last sixty to a hundred years working together and living in harmony--if those families can pass on those values to that first generation, and that generation to the next and so on, then I really think humans have a shot at living and flourishing within a permanent, perpetually peaceful future and leave the troubles of Earth behind.
Time will tell I suppose.
Ok, rant finished. It's late and the coffee ran out a loooong time ago.