Sending farmers to Mars

Taylor HillmanFeatures, General, Western View

farming tractor spraying a field
Would you go to Mars if you knew there was no way you could come back?

Western View: Go to Mars

<Song: Space Oddity>

The Mars One project is a private enterprise, an incredibly ambitious project which will send people in groups of four to establish a colony on Mars. It sounds outrageous, but there is historical precedent; in many cases the colonies in the Americas and elsewhere were built by farmers and private companies that may have been sanctioned, but not funded, by the governments of the time.

And we’ve been researching and developing equipment and techniques for deep space travel for a long time. The United States led in space exploration during those heady days when the Apollo project took us to the moon. But since then, other countries have been doing their part with their own research. The International Space Station and other efforts have made space exploration an international endeavor that pools knowledge and expenses. Maybe it’s not such a wild, harebrained idea after all.

The people who are volunteering to go — and there are thousands of them — come from all walks of life from around the world, but they have one thing in common — they are all going to be farmers.

Yes, there will be geologists, astronomers, chemists and engineers, but the first job for each and every one of them will be farmer. They will need to grow their own food and they will need to be exceptionally efficient. The soil will be very costly as it is shipped in from Earth, and they will have precious little water to grow their crops. Does that sound familiar? Yes, they will have to be as good as a California grower who has had a lot of practice squeezing a living out of costly land with too little water.

<Song: Rocket Man>

I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the far Western View from AgNet West.