While Earth has long been the worst of all the planets in our solar system due to its increasingly inhospitable environment marred by rising temperatures, a quickly dwindling supply of natural resources, the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, unconscionable abuses of power, and the Instagram stories of roughly 92% of all the people I follow, Mars has just solidified its claim to the top spot, thanks to a newly discovered “underground lake.”
A highly respected, peer-reviewed academic journal with the most trustworthy name in the science biz (Science) has published a study detailing evidence of water—yes, life-giving liquid water—about a mile beneath the surface of my future home planet. The abstract reads, in part:
The presence of liquid water at the base of the martian polar caps has long been suspected but not observed. We surveyed the Planum Australe region using the MARSIS (Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding) instrument, a low-frequency radar on the Mars Express spacecraft... Quantitative analysis of the radar signals shows that this bright feature has high relative dielectric permittivity (>15), matching that of water-bearing materials. We interpret this feature as a stable body of liquid water on Mars.
Later, they make the exciting assertion that there is “no reason to conclude that the presence of subsurface water on Mars is limited to a single location.” More underground lakes!
As a layperson who will never identify as either a “scientist” or even “subscriber to Science magazine,” I may not be the person from whom one should be taking advice about things as consequential as interplanetary relocation, but from where I stand (Earth), a better place to stand would be Mars. So let’s go!
While movies have taught me that the atmosphere on Matt Damon’s former home is far from suitable for humans to breathe, I am deeply intrigued by the possibility of living a climate-controlled, subterranean lifestyle 33.9 million miles away from this place—where I can spend my days gardening, saying things like, “copy that,” and chilling at lakes without having to worry about reapplying my SPF 100.
And while I, no dummy, fully understand and accept that new troubles will find me wherever I go—be that Mars or somewhere more hospitable and terrestrial like Canada—I’m hungry for a new genre of troubles, as the ones currently plaguing me (and all of you) are getting very old! (I don’t have to list them here; you know what they are.) It’s very “same shit, different day,” only the shit is getting compacted inside the bowels of humanity, unable to escape, as opposed to being formed and escaping at regular intervals. Lately, these Earth troubles are just quietly multiplying without being addressed, getting bigger and more dense and inching closer and closer to causing toxic shock syndrome.
On Mars—in my little underground bungalow shared with whom I presume will be very chill people—I’ll contend with daily hassles like a finite supply of food and oxygen, shoddy communications towers, occasional freak accidents, and—if I’m lucky—inhospitable Martians who accuse us of trespassing on their private underground beaches. These are better problems, and I would welcome them. To quote my coworker: