Solution to Mars colonization ‘madness’ problem


Not Mars.


If you ever look at a taconite mine pit on northern Minnesota’s Iron Range you might remark on it’s similarity to pictures of Mars. Film crews have even considered the Range as an ideal site for science fiction movie shoots for just that reason.

If you ever spend a winter in northern Minnesota you might remark on the phenomenon often called “cabin fever,” the concentrated insanity of feeling trapped in a small warm place surrounding by deadly cold for months on end.

So you can imagine my interest in an article about the push to colonize Mars. Shaunacy Ferro at the magazine Popular Science describes what Mars colonization might really mean for early space explorers in the article “Why Mars Colonists Will Definitely Go Crazy.”



Mars. Courtesy of Popular Science.

In essence, early human travelers to Mars would be signing up to leave Earth forever and live in small Martian “Habitrol” for the rest of their lives. Their communication with Earth would forever be marred by a data lag of several minutes. Their quarters, while comfortable, would be small. Traveling outside the “house” would require space suits and the risk of instant death. There wouldn’t be any mental health services. And there wouldn’t be much people on Earth could do except watch these people go insane on television.



And it occurs to me; we get a taste of this every winter in northern Minnesota. Perhaps some people around here might want to give Mars colonization a try? That’s a pretty sweet TV.

(h/t reader Chris)


  1. You could head off the problem by making sure they had a good supply of weed.

  2. “You’re not going to Falkowski’s dressed like that!”

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