Sunday, January 31, 2016

Surviving on Mars

This afternoon, my wife and I watched The Martian on streaming video.  The movie is about an astronaut who is stranded on the Red Planet after a storm aborts his team's mission and about NASA's efforts to rescue him.

Throughout the film, emphasis is placed upon the importance of courage, scientific knowledge, human ingenuity and international cooperation in both the astronaut's attempt to survive and in humanity's effort to retrieve one of its own.  There are no scenes invoking the intervention of deities or implying that miracles play a role in the process.  Frankly, mysticism is left out of the equation.

Unfortunately, in our modern world, that is not the case.  Science, especially when it contradicts traditional beliefs, is ridiculed and social support for scientific exploration is waning.  From my perspective, The Martian is less about one man's determination to survive than about the survival of our species.  The latter will require both respect for science across the globe and the willingness of all humans to adopt lifestyles that protect our planet; if not, we may all need to escape to Mars.