The good news is that we can ignore the Star Trek fantasies of overgrown schoolboys like Musk. There are simply far too many biological impediments for the silly billionaire's panic room on Mars to be feasible for anyone who doesn't want to die of radiation sickness, never mind dozens of other physiological problems. The bad news is that the silly sums of money we'll spend on a pointless pursuit could if spent on robotic missions tell us far more about the universe we live in than anything we can presently imagine. But instead of knowledge we get Cowboys In Space, because most people are beguiled by fairytales and confused by the complex majesty of reality. What will really happen to any space colony that is attempted is very simple: humans, being human, will f*ck it up and because the environment of space or Mars or anywhere else off-Earth is instantly lethal, everyone will die horribly. It will, at least, make for excellent reality TV.

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.

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