Mars Genesis,The Task of this Millennium©

by Austin Repath

Today we find ourselves not only frightened by global terrorism, but lost in a material world without real purpose or meaning.  In our hearts we long for something more than a never-ending defending of ourselves from one enemy after another. We want a task worthy of who we are, some venture so grand and cosmic that it would focus our energies, bring pride and purpose to our lives. A challenge that would ask of us real vision and great courage. 
            There is just such an opportunity, but not one for the timid or the stay-at-home. Remember the pictures sent back by the Carl Sagan's Pathfinder from Mars.  That barren landscape of Mars can be brought back to life.
           Terraforming is the term used to describe the process of changing the lifeless surface of a planet like Mars into a warm, oxygen filled, water flowing world that could contain life.  It would take several generations, draw on the resources of the nations of the world: the result, the creation of a world, sister to Earth—a place of new possibilities.
            It would involve a global cooperation beyond anything we have yet achieved.  For what end?  To give life to a dead planet–as close to a cosmic genesis as the collective human spirit is capable of.  A cosmic resurrection of a dead of a planet would awaken something in the soul of every one of us.  It would give us a cosmic sense of empowerment, of self worth beyond imagining.
           The Middle Ages spent themselves in building cathedrals that took generations to build.  They left behind them fluted towers of delicate beauty - a source of inspiration for those that followed.
           Our age has spent itself in weaponry. Silos with nuclear missiles pointed skyward, warplanes, tanks, "smart" bombs: sources of fear and terror have we built for ourselves.  And yet it is not too late.  We could yet offer our children the legacy of a great possibility -beyond anything ever dreamt of before.  We could pass on to them a task of real awe and beauty: a task of cosmic "cathedral building."  The challenge for our generation is to have the courage and foresight to initiate a Mars genesis project.
           Of course the reaction of many people would be swift and self righteous.  "We must first deal with matters here on earth.  There is global terrorism, destruction of the planet, overpopulation, homelessness, abuse."  The list is endless.  All legitimate reasons why such a venture should not be undertaken.
           But it is just these very reasons that demand such an undertaking.  For even the attempt at such a project is by its very nature an essential part of the solution to the earth threatening situation we find ourselves in today. We do have to deal with terrorism, pollution, wars, the economy, but such a Mars genesis project would create a larger context.  One that in my opinion will prove to be a necessary element for a successful rehabilitation of earth. A Mars project would balance the sense of desperation surrounding the world's problems.  It would offer all of us a part in a task that has new possibility, new creative challenges and a new frontier.
          All of us hunger for a larger vision that will draw out from each of us something nobler that our own self interest. Most of us long for a purpose truly worthy of our best effort: a creative act of great daring and magnitude. 
           Think of people from every country on earth cooperating together to bring into being a sister planet for earth.  We, the people of earth, taking a planet that is barren, without a protective atmosphere, with no apparent life, and warming it: turning its subterrean ice into lakes and rivers, wrapping this awakening world in a protective blanket of cloud, planting its surface with plants and trees.  Then we bring to it forests, animals, and of course as caretakers and "parenters", human beings. 
           Not impossible dreaming.  No more impossible than putting a man on the moon seemed to people in the 60s.  It is very doable; some scientists at Nasa claim, in four to six generations.  What an accomplishment for our species!
          Think of the impact such an enterprise would have on human consciousness.  And herein would lie the profound benefit for all of us.  At present we appear to be gripped by fear of each other, negativity and hopelessness.  We see the need to change, to see ourselves differently, yet we seem unable to act, unsure if we can, in truth, make a difference.
           What we need is an undertaking that would galvanize us into action, that would give us a better sense of ourselves as a species of greatness and power -worthy to be who we are.  Involving ourselves in something so daring, so grand in its concept and design as giving birth to another earth-like world would transform the negative view of ourselves that has filled the collective unconscious over centuries of war and inhumanity.
           Would we not, when we look towards Mars, have reflected back to us from the heavens a view of ourselves so empowering and positive that the world around us, this home planet, earth could not only be restored, but transformed into the best of both worlds.  This would be the ultimate gift to our grandchildren.
          We need to risk sending out the life form that we are with all its weakness and imperfection into the heavens with the hope and expectation that the life force, of which we are hopefully only an early imperfect model, will evolve and grow.  I believe that this is more than a wild dream.  I think it is the task of this new millennium.

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