Gary Fogg

Gary Fogg

Public and private efforts to colonize Mars are underway. Most of these projects hope to land people on the red planet within about 15 years.

While mankind eagerly anticipates this adventure, we might also wonder how a civilization elsewhere in the galaxy might view our conquest of another world.

If these creatures are more humane than ourselves, I think they will be alarmed by our presence on Mars for four reasons.

One, we fight among ourselves endlessly.

Two, we kill, eat or enslave all other species as we please.

Three, we wreck the ability of our own biosphere to support life.

Four, we think a great deal of ourselves and show no signs of changing our behavior any time soon.

Given these concerns, creatures from another world can at least take comfort in the knowledge that so far no life on Mars has been found for us to harm.

In its early days, Mars developed an atmosphere and oceans similar to earth. Over time, it lost much of the hydrogen in its atmosphere and became cold and dry as a result. Nonetheless, it remains a beautiful world with its red rocks, light blue and brownish skies and wispy clouds high in the atmosphere.

Sensitive creatures will surely be saddened by its destruction.

But perhaps there is a bright side to this tragedy. Our presence on Mars may alert higher beings to the risk we pose to them while they have time to prepare a defense.

I can imagine how they might react. One approach would be to convene a council of like-minded powers and designate human beings as an invasive species, much like we think of green crabs here in Maine. They might try to confine us within our solar system through surveillance and patrols.

I doubt they will succeed. We will probably find a way around their defenses and continue to spread to other star systems. They may be forced to use more drastic means to keep us in check. One way or another, however, the truth is clear. Our behavior will threaten their freedom and survival.


Gary Fogg lives in Topsham.

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