Bill Nye Says Humans Will Never Live on Mars And Suggests Terraforming Advocates Are "High"

Monday, 19 November 2018 - 1:53PM
Space
Solar System
Mars
Monday, 19 November 2018 - 1:53PM
Bill Nye Says Humans Will Never Live on Mars And Suggests Terraforming Advocates Are "High"
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Gage Skidmore – CC BY-SA 2.0
Bill Nye is many things – beloved educational figure, science celebrity, and the original Science Guy – but now he has a new role: Martian killjoy. Despite near-boundless optimism for the idea and ambitious plans made by NASA and SpaceX, Nye says that humans will never live permanently on Mars or raise families there. He also asked (rather candidly) whether those who advocate for terraforming Mars are on drugs.

For Nye, Mars is more like Antarctica than a second Earth: "Nobody goes to Antarctica to raise a family. You don't go there and build a park, there's just no such thing...Nobody's gonna go settle on Mars to raise a family and have generations of Martians. It's not reasonable because it's so cold. And there is hardly any water. There's absolutely no food, and the big thing, I just remind these guys, there's nothing to breathe."



Of course, scientists and private companies have been exploring ways to deal with Mars' harsh conditions and support human settlements on the Red Planet despite the natural lack of air and food: so far, research has suggested that earthworms can live in Martian soil (which is good news for farmers), we can grow crops there, and even brew beer. One of the big candidates for food crops is potatoes, à la The Martian.

As for terraforming, Nye has this to say: "This whole idea of terraforming Mars, as respectful as I can be, are you guys high? We can't even take care of this planet where we live, and we're perfectly suited for it, let alone another planet."

His remark may be directed at Elon Musk, whose infamous plan to terraform Mars using nuclear warheads raised some eyebrows a few years ago. Musk also caused a scandal after lighting up a marijuana joint on Joe Rogan's podcast. All that being said, there is some serious literature on the potential for terraforming the Red Planet – despite Nye's skepticism – although, unlike Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Series, it would take a very, very long time.

Despite all this, Nye says it's still worthwhile to go to Mars, especially since it offers humanity's best chance at finding life on another planet. "If we were to find evidence of life on Mars...it would change the course of human history," he says. "Everybody would feel differently about being a living thing in the cosmos."

And that has to be worth something.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore – CC BY-SA 2.0
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