I feel like this should be a massive effort put forth by all countries. As a civilization, our population is growing at a break-neck rate. Not only would it be a fail-safe should something happen to earth, but we can utilize that space for the good of all people.
I have heard of quite a few proposals that people have made that would help support varying degrees of habitability on this rusty planet:
- A magnetic shield to block solar winds
- Solar reflectors to heat the planet
- Drones and 3D printers to make metal and glass enclosures
- Underground habitats for living, farming, and animal husbandry
- Domed glass enclosures, double-walled with electrified faraday cages to grow plants in.
- Satellite and GPS Network to Guide Drones, For Communication, and weather monitoring.
- A wide variety of seeds, animals, fungi, insects that can create useful compounds.
- Drones that make machinery, using plant-based compounds grown on Mars and natural iron.
- Regular, frequent supply drops to help build early infrastructure.
- A committed team of people that will live the rest of their lives on the red planet.
- High-bandwidth satellites to relay massive amounts of data between Earth and Mars.
- Massive space-based solar array, beaming energy to mars.
- Quantum entanglement in computer systems, possible instant communications transfer.
Thinking about all of these different things that I have read about, I am wondering why, as a society, there isn't more of a concerted effort from everyone to bring all of these ideas to fruition, as soon as possible. I know that some of these ideas are more feasible than others, but we can come together to solve almost any problem. During times of war, people have proven that they can be extremely productive. We need to look at this like that. All hands on deck. Manufacturing jobs everywhere. I would more than happily donate a portion of my time every week, month, or year creating the next marvel of humanity.
If we can prove we can make a "dead" planet habitable, then there is hope all throughout the cosmos. We could live on Jupiter's moons. We could have mining outposts in the asteroid belt. Obviously, this is long-term, big-picture and would span the course of many generations, but the next wonder of the world could be creating a completely separate, livable world. I want to be part of that.
What are we actively doing to make this a reality? This would be one of the biggest investments out there, but would have some of the best returns to us as a race of people, so who cares about the money? So ultimately, where is the human race in the race to become an interplanetary civilization?