In a recent interview with the Mars Society, Elon Musk revealed what worries him most about the colonization of the Red Planet. At the moment, there is no settlement project that would pass the test for autonomous existence. The development of Mars is possible only with constant replenishment of resources from the Earth, but the growing colony is in dire need of self-sufficiency.
When European settlers set out to colonize the American continents, they were confident that they would find analogous resources there and be able to use them. Nevertheless, the first colonists almost died out clean from hunger and cold, it took them decades of adaptation. Those traveling to Mars will have little or no alternative but to rely on supplies from Earth.
The minimum path from Earth to Mars takes about six months and, in theory, you can send ship after ship in order to constantly send useful cargo to the colonists. In this case, they will live in conditions of a severe shortage of all resources, but humanity has such an experience – the same Antarctic expeditions. Problems will begin if supplies are suddenly cut off, when literally the last flask of water and oxygen cylinder remains. Alas, only in utopias gallant settlers famously recycle everything into something useful, in reality the colonists will be doomed.
It turns out that in the foreseeable future, the creation of a colony on Mars does not make sense without constant support from Earth. And this is not only extremely expensive, but also possible only as long as human civilization is at a certain level. If there is a world war, a pandemic or a natural disaster that will take many lives and throw people back into the Middle Ages, and flights to Mars will end. That is why in his interview to the question “If supplies from Earth stop, will the Martian colony die out?” Musk replied, “Yes, it can happen for any reason. It can be anything from the most commonplace to nuclear armageddon. ” And we should take this factor into Attention.