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What will human society on Mars look like?

The first visits to Mars will involve small teams of astronauts who will stay there for a limited amount of time, They will have clear mission aims and chains of command. However, further into the future we will see long term or permanent, large scale communities being established on Mars. These communities will have to be highly organized in order to meet the exacting demands of maintaining life on Mars; technical, physical, psychological and social demands. Any colony on Mars will grow from the crews sent from Earth. It is possible that these crews could be part of national, or military, organizations and as such would be likely to have hierarchical, structured, command systems. If the initial crew was part of a commercial initiative then those command structures might be less rigid. In either case, once a colony is established on Mars the colonists may have to rethink how they are organized and how they govern themselves, as structures that were adopted on Earth may become less relevant with time. So how could humans go about designing a blueprint for a completely new civilization? At what point will humans think of themselves as Martians rather than earthlings? We can’t answer this question here of course but we offer a few prompts for later discussion. The human race has a long history of exploring new lands and establishing new colonies. Will our approach to Mars be any different and what can we learn from past human endeavor? Early settlers may have a command structure enforced on them through their existing roles and organizational structures on Earth. Will these survive in the long term? Would these structures be appropriate for a Mars colony? As the Mars mission evolves from being a mission to a settlement, at what point will the colonists begin to view Mars as their new home rather than as somewhere they are visiting? How does this shift in perception impact on the social structures that might be in place? Will the colonists learn from history and look at what forms of society have been the most productive in the past? The colonists are certain to be drawn from a wide variety of cultures. How will this influence the type of society that is set up? Will a new Martian culture evolve from the diverse cultures coming together? In the longer term, new generations of human Martians may be born on Mars and will know no other life. What will the influence of Earth be on these colonists? Will the new Martians strive for Martian independence?

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This article is from the free online course:

How to Survive on Mars: the Science Behind the Human Exploration of Mars

Monash University