Jack Bonner: Exploring from Mars to the Stars

Jack Bonner believes that space exploration is responsible for a host of technological advancements on earth, from the development of new materials to a better understanding of space’s effects on life. Even if humanity is not yet ready to conduct manned expeditions to nearby planets, it is possible for humans to travel beyond the solar system in the distant future. Today, Jack Bonner A2W discusses some of the issues that humanity will encounter in its journey to the stars.

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Space exploration is done for a variety of reasons – to get a better idea of Earth’s place in the cosmos, to determine the effects of space radiation on human health, or to exploit potential space resources for human profit. However, for most fans of space exploration, such as Jack Bonner, all of these efforts are useless if they do not culminate in manned space travel to neighboring planets and beyond.

Contrary to TV shows and comic books that portray outer-space colonies like their counterparts on Earth, human settlements on other planets will look a lot different. For one, to save time and cost, dwellings and buildings on a planet like Mars will probably be constructed from materials that are already available on the planet itself. Martian soil will serve as a natural protection from the type of cosmic radiation that the Red Planet receives. While humans will be able to terraform Mars, it is a process that could take hundreds of years and thousands of advancements in technology.

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Such a colony will also encounter other sorts of problems that would ring a bell to Earth-bound humans. Colonists will debate over the form of government that will rule over Mars, and it is likely that Earth’s most powerful and influential nations would want a share of the Martian pie. Will Mars be able to isolate itself enough from the wars and conflicts on the home planet? Jack Bonner believes that it is not just a possibility, but a necessity – Mars and its people should be given autonomy after a period of “hand-holding” from the United Nations or whatever is in its place centuries from now.

Human beings have also evolved much during their stay on Earth, developing language, philosophy, science, and religion, aside from encountering changes in their exterior appearance. Jack Bonner wonders about the sort of evolution humans are likely to encounter on another planet – their lungs’ oxygen-storage capacity could increase tenfold, and their voice boxes could thicken, thus changing speech patterns and the way people communicate.

While the problems posed by interplanetary travel are daunting, Jack Bonner believes that humanity will find a way to solve them, just like it has solved both scientific and philosophical problems on Earth.