So let's see: all the physiological problems of 1/3rd Earth gravity, living forever in underground bunkers breathing recycled air, drinking recycled urine, and eating recycled feces. Instant death if any one of hundreds of critical systems fails. All for what, exactly? To attempt a pathetically dreary lifestyle because some people didn't understand that Star Trek was a children's TV program and not a representation of any possible future in any possible universe? For a fraction of the cost of this misguided fantasy, robotic missions could explore the entire solar system in extraordinary detail. Musk may want to build his billionaire's panic room on the red planet, but there's no reason any sane person in possession of even a fraction of a functioning frontal cortex would wish to spend significant time on an utterly barren and lethal planet. If we have problems here on Earth we should fix them, not retreat into infantile fantasies about making sub-standard Star Trek or Total Recall imitations for no purpose whatsoever. Mars is not, never will be, and never can be, "the future of humanity."

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.