There is no doubt in my mind that humans will some day walk on the surface of Mars. While it is largely inhospitable to human life, it is the planet that is closest to providing an environment like that of Earth. While it is much farther away than the moon, the presence of an atmosphere, gravity closer to that of Earth, abundant water and raw materials for building shelters means that it would probably be easier to establish a colony there than on the moon. There is also the mystery about why Mars took the development path that it did. The evidence that there was once flowing water on the surface is very strong and it appears that the Martian environment was once much more like that of Earth.
This tape, effectively narrated by Patrick Stewart, is an explanation of the difficulties of launching an expedition to Mars. There are many dangers; the long-term effects of being in interplanetary space are unknown. Solar flares could unleash deadly radiation, the lack of gravity could lead to a serious loss of bone density and muscle weakness and the psychological stresses could prove unbearable. Nevertheless, as one commentator points out, there are over 50,000 people who would volunteer to go tomorrow. Even if they were told that the odds were only 50-50 that they would survive, they would still volunteer to go.
This is a demonstration of that overpowering human urge to explore new territories and seek out new challenges.
I enjoyed watching the tape; it fires the imagination and stirs the soul of all who strive to achieve greatness. The establishment of a human colony on Mars will be a very expensive endeavor. However, when you consider how much is wasted on armaments and how human achievement unifies the human species, it will probably end up being a bargain in the long run. Also, few people realize that if all the benefits that society obtained from the Apollo mission to the moon was factored in, then the program was immensely profitable. Technological spin-offs, such as the dramatic shrinking in the size of electronic components, have paid for the program many times over. There is no reason to believe that a program to land on Mars would be any different.