Why would we risk the danger of extinguishing all human lives by sending a few travelers to Mars? I strongly believe, as an engineer with personal experience working in the space program, that human space travel to Mars would be far too great a risk to Earthly mankind in general. Human beings can not visit anywhere without trashing the place and upsetting the locals. The risks of going to Mars and making a bad impression on those beings could precipitate the end of our planet. Explorers through history have shown that from killing anything we don’t like to leaving our debris to clutter their space, we just don’t care.
Additionally, if we do find something interesting we assume it is stupid and ours to take, and feel free to take some for experiments. What if what we find is a superior being to us, and we totally alienate them by borrowing a few and cutting them up for the sake of our scientific curiosity? Think in the context of alien abductions with the tables turned.
Consider the Mars Rover mission. That little robotic buggy has been rolling around up there for three or four times longer than we designed it for. Red dust collects on the solar panels, electrical output gets dangerously low, night comes, and in the morning the dust has mysteriously disappeared. The scientists tell us that some Mars wind that they can never measure or see does it. Yeah, right! Some little Mars critter with a feather duster is making sure that we keep seeing exactly what they want us to see. They have probably put one of those little cup things over the lens like you see in the movies and going about their daily business while we think there is no one up there.
If we were to devote the time and effort to send people to Mars, the astronauts would be so freaked out by every little unanticipated noise or critter that they would wind up blasting away anything that moved. The Martians have probably been monitoring our TV and are so afraid of us that they won’t show themselves in front of the Rover right now. Can you imagine what would happen with that astronaut who let the tool bag float away in space? Or the one who wore diapers to drive cross-country to abduct her intended lover’s date? Are these the kind of people we want to send to another planet to make a lasting first impression?
I think not! If we could pick the ones to go based upon their ability to get along with the Martian locals, a remote maybe. Just think – are there astronauts in the pool that we could plop down in a bad neighborhood or the mountains of Afghanistan and trust to play nice with the locals? I propose that they would fit in about as well on Mars as they would under those circumstances – with dire consequences for them and all humanity!
We are much safer letting the Martians come and see us when they like, and not taking the chance of upsetting them by going there. We can’t even visit each other here on Earth without getting into a fight, for goodness sakes!