Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy counts among the most exciting works of classic science-fiction in recent years. It reinvigorates the sense of adventure, underpinning science fiction, that had become lost in recent decades. Nonetheless, colonising Mars is not unproblematic. As much as I would like to support the Mars One initiative launched by the highly dynamic Bass Lansdorf, I find it difficult to do so.
I say this with the awareness that I’m a mere bystander, watching while they are actually breaking new ground and mobilising the imaginations of millions of people. I have great respect for what they have managed to achieve. However, I consider the Mars One model to be flawed. Should they, against the expectations of many, actually succeed in blasting off for the Red Planet, they will face a range of risks and uncertainties for which they would be ill-prepared.
Bottom line is: Going to Mars is too important for a failure right at the outset. My article in the Weekly Mail & Guardian, Mars One: Reality bites, covers some of the issues involved.