The year is 2076 and a geography class is going on in the ninth standard classroom in Surat. The class is abuzz as the topic of discussion is Mars and the kids are interested to contextualize the news that is making the rounds on internet, about implications of the referendum recently held there.
Mrs Kumar the teacher smiles at the high energy level of the future citizens of the universe.
“Students, she opened “as is well known humans reached Mars in 2032 thanks largely to the joint consortium of the first generation of Space entrepreneurs like Musk, Bezos and Branson. However the first proper colony was not established till 2041 when a mixed nationality group of 430 people decided to settle down there.
The early problems they faced are well documented now on all Mars related websites and also in the 2053 bestseller “Taming Gravity”. The planet engineering of Mars was still on and the ice sheets being melted at the north-pole could not be controlled causing large scale floods. The water problem was not sorted till about 2051 when rivers and their basins were created. Compared to earth now, 80% of which is water stressed mars is a water surplus environment.
Also getting the CO2 in atmosphere to convert to oxygen using the giant Moxie machines is a testimony to human innovation and survival skills. In fact the big central dome and the entire covered city of Pompey are now oxygengated and do not need separate breathing devices to be carried by the citizens.
The clothes initially worn by everyone were special heated suits to maintain the pressure and keep bodies warm however now with the fine tuning control of the environment, people on Mars are wearing ordinary clothes. In fact the fashion trends being practiced on Mars are a rage on Earth and some of the top designers there fetch the highest price there.
“So Mam have we solved all the problems that living in a hostile climate like Mars posed to us. Can we call ourselves multi planetary specie now?”
“We are definitely a multi planetary specie now with more 23 million humans living on Mars. However some problems still remain unsolved. The gravity controller powerhouse ( we have to enhance gravity there as it is a smaller planet) still gets kinks in the enhanced gravity waves thus often leading to people making accidental jumps. Also the food problem is not yet fully solved. Hydroponics ( growing plants in water) has been taken to an industrial level however still not all crops can be harvested there. This makes the food chain at mars vulnerable to imports from earth. Also the travel time which started at about 8 months has now come down to almost 4, however it is still a very long time to be constrained in a spacecraft.”
“So mam, what is this referendum at Mars all about”
“Well students you know how humans are. Instead of being broadly inclusive of everyone, they normally set up barriers, boundaries and roadblocks. Since last decade the rights of people who are migrating to Mars now were being debated both at Mars Forum on Earth and the Planet Governing Council on Mars. Earth citizens had voted for equal rights for generations going now while Martians wanted immigrant status and certainly no voting rights for people moving in after 2070. The referendum held there last month has ratified their position. People at mars are saying they will not allow more people to come in till this issue is clarified and immigrants rights agreed upon.
“So mam will this lead us to a war with them”
“Well class that remains to be seen as war will be detrimental to both the planets ecosystems, however sanctions in the form of blockade of their food lines, stopping communication channels with relatives back at earth and other stringent measure are being considered to make them fall in line. We really hope that this will make them come to the negotiating table and an amicable solution for continuing prosperity on both the planets can be agreed upon.