The journal Astrobiology has published a paper by some Australian National University scientists who assert that "large regions" of Mars could support "Earth-like microbes." That's us! We'll just have to live below the planet's surface so we don't freeze to death or dehydrate.
The scientists didn't actually attempt to live on Mars in order to prove their thesis. Instead, they used models and existing data to conclude that about three percent of the planet is habitable (so their findings could all be an elaborate fantasy, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt for now). "Just one percent of Earth's volume—from core to upper atmosphere—was occupied by life," Discovery informs us, without adding that this number is due to the fact that 90% of the planet has become occupied by abandoned big-box stores and landfills.
Given what we know about climate change, our jeopardized water supply, and other doomsday environmental factors, it's relieving to know that the universe has provided us with options. If we can get Detroit to start cranking out spaceships instead of Ford pick-up trucks, we might be able to leave Planet Earth before it becomes zero percent habitable. Once we get there, there will be plenty of society-building work to do—from construction to governance. This could solve global unemployment. We need to get on this.
Here's a list of some of the basic things we'll need to achieve life on Mars:
- Machines to build the tunnels and underground bunkers we'll need to survive
- Swimming pools to store all the water underground; above ground, water evaporates
- Space heaters—the average temperature is -65 degrees Celsius, or almost as cold as Chicago
- A strip mall that includes a Home Depot (for the construction) and a McDonald's
- Lots and lots of light therapy lamps to avoid permanent seasonal affective disorder
- Anti-rickets medications
- A football stadium
- Tanning salons
After we're all set up, we can make David Bowie mayor and enforce a mandatory dress code by which all men must wear spiky red mullets and blue eye shadow.
[Images of your new home via AP]