Copyright © 2004 by George Smith. Published by the Mars Society with permission.
Discovering a “second genesis” of life on Mars would have a momentous philosophical implication: that we inhabit a biological universe. But a number of “lesser” philosophical implications—or perhaps psychological ramifications—arise from Mars exploration as it is now proceeding: (i) the psychic colonization of Mars; (ii) the irresistibility of comparative planetology; and (iii) the expansion of our time-frame. Collectively, these ramifications lead to a heightened awareness that just as Earth is not privileged with respect to space (the Copernican Revolution), neither is it privileged with respect to time, i.e., it cannot be an abode of life indefinitely. It is something of a mystery that this heightened awareness of Earth’s finitude does not carry more philosophic weight in our 21st century world views. But it is clear that this heightened awareness can be considered both a philosophical implication of Mars exploration, and a motivator for further exploration of the planet.