The colonization of Mars started before there were the proper means to do it. Just like parents use to have children and learn how to raise them on the go, we’ve improvised the paraterraformation of Mars. This was finally possible only thanks to genetic engineering, since there was an unavoidable stumbling block for human habitation of the red planet: Our physical adaptation to Earth. To sum up: We did not colonize Mars, but we made Martians in Mars. As you may imagine, this wasn’t a genius idea, but we did it and it changed humanity’s history.
It all started with politics at the beginning of the twenty-second century. There were a lot more hospitable terrains on Earth than on Mars, but behind were the days of land annexation and colonization. Globalization had united all the countries in the world, and international laws had made wars between countries and military actions non-viable. Economic colonization was also coming to an end. The exploitation of other countries’ soil and resources was still possible, but immigration was a luxury that no country could afford anymore. The world was overpopulated, and population quotas had been imposed by global regulators. The inhabitable places left after the global climatic meltdown had already reached full capacity and international law had put a stop to island-building, so all efforts were put into making hospitable places out of desert areas. But due to the Earth’s limited capacity, there was no place for further expansion. An outlet for this expansionist impulse was found in the colonization of Mars. Such an undertaking was only possible by conjoining forces, so the International Community of Mars Explorers was created. It was privately and publicly financed, and every shareholder had a stake in Mars, from which they would have a big profit were the colonization to succeed. In a way, it was an altruistic venture, because the project would take more than a hundred years to yield palpable fruits. However, like any other stock, it exponentially increased in value once the colonization of Mars became more certain, so many speculators invested great sums.
Many others, however, were in just for the exhilaration. These adrenaline junkies would even fight for first places in the expeditions. The idea was simple: To live in domes and underground, airtight bubble cities while paraterraforming the planet and constructing a world house. The energy cost for the whole project of a self-sufficient colony was in the thousands of exajoules to get it up and running, and in the hundreds of exajoules per year to keep it running. By that time, we already had the energetic capacity in the form of nanomaterial that could turn radiation into energy, and Mars had plenty of radiation. The first step was to find the best interplanetary traveling system: the rotovator was chosen because it could help not only launch, but also land rockets. This helped radically decrease the mass ratio of rockets, since they could be launched by tethering them to rotating skyhooks orbiting the Earth. Then the rockets didn’t need to carry that much fuel, which made them safer and more economical. The rotovator project alone took the whole world three decades to build, but it was worth it. The next step was to make Mars a human habitat, that is, an oxygenated place protected from cosmic rays; warm and pressurized enough, so Earth organisms could survive. The lack of gravity, however, was a big issue due to the bone problems it caused. It was necessary to use bionic exoskeletons, which helped maintain the integrity of the bone structure. They were worn all the time and taken off only in beds and other surfaces with gravitational fields. The Martian pioneers were like builders, making camp on the site. However, these builders were also colonists, charged with populating Mars. Their kids were genetically engineered to withstand the Martian environment. Radiation was the main cause of death among the colonists, despite the shields, the drugs and the genetic engineering used. Many people’s bodies just couldn’t survive the evolutionary adaptation. The endgame was to combine paraterraformation with genetic engineering to be able to survive on Mars. Some elements like nitrogen became really valuable to the colony, due to their scarcity. Cargoes of these essential elements had to constantly be shipped from Earth for almost a century until the planet became self-sufficient. The full paraterraformation of Mars was, however, achieved, a few centuries after Mars was first colonized and by then Martians could not stand anymore the conditions of Earth unless they were retro-engineered into Earthlings at birth. Otherwise, they were forced to wear exoskeletons while visiting our planet.
The parraterraformation process started a few decades before the arrival of the first batch of colonists. They were mostly engineers, miners and geologists. Although they lived in underground tunnels left by extinguished volcanoes, they had to work outdoors, being exposed to cosmic rays. But they realized that constant radiation wasn’t as bad as people had previously thought. The body gets used to it, and with the help of single-walled carbon nanotubes called Trojan Nanovector, the short-term effects were counteracted. Their exoskeletons helped them maneuver on the Martian surface and prevent their bones from losing density. Regarding solar flares, this meteorological phenomenon became commonplace to Martians, the same as hurricanes and tsunamis are to Earthlings. They just watched out for them and sought immediate shelter when they came. Another common feature of Mars was its meteor showers. Meteors were shot as soon as they entered the thin Martian atmosphere until they disintegrated into small particles. These meteor showers became a new meteorological phenomenon, and everyone was warned of them in advance, so they could take shelter. There were a few casualties and some damage to infrastructure, but nothing to threaten the colonization of this planet.
The subterranean colonization of Mars lasted more than a century. No real efforts were done towards the terraformation of Mars because it wasn’t technologically possible or economically practical. They had the theory but not the means to do it. The colossal effort of paraterraformation was comparable to that of the colonists of the new world in the second millennium. Huge amounts of capital were necessary, and some of the technology to make it possible wasn’t yet there. There was a key difference, though. The ancient colonists sought a paradise to conquer, while the new colonists imagined a paradise in a hostile environment. But by the beginning of the twenty-fourth century, they were ready to finally position a dipole field at Mars L1 Lagrange Point. This project took four decades and when it was finished, it prevented the solar wind from further eroding the atmosphere and sterilizing the Martian surface.
After this had been done, they started creating domed forests. Up to then people lived under thick layers of carbon walls, to be protected from radiation, and received only artificial light. However, the situation changed with the appearance of forests grown inside domes made of newly-developed resilient transparent radiation-proof materials. The atmosphere was heated up in these towering domes with the use of super-carbonates. Sulfur and fluorine gas were mostly used to create a super greenhouse effect. Through electrolysis, acid was subtracted from Martian water, getting oxygen, previously valued as gold among the colonists, as a byproduct. The acid was then used to dissolve C02, which was then released into the glassed atmosphere. These domes had been strategically built on the Martian ice caps, which were subsequently melted to obtain water and vapor as a byproduct, essential to heat the glassed atmosphere even more. Once the temperature was naturally brought to higher levels, cyanobacteria were massively cultivated in these greenhouses, which lead to the oxygenation of their atmosphere. Then trees and plants were grown inside these green pockets, and eventually crops. At last, half a century later, Martians could take walks through these forests and take a glimpse at the sun through their thick canopy. These greenhouse pockets spread all around until they enveloped every domed city. By the twenty-fifth century, with the help of skylights pierced at regular intervals into the domes and the forest surrounding them, people could receive natural sunlight once again.
With the advent of our modern nanotechnology, the bubble cities became even safer and Mars got the status of a properly inhabitable planet. However, atmospheric pressure is still an issue nowadays, among interplanetary travelers. Martians that come to Earth or Earthlings that go to Mars need to wear a special exoskeleton suit all the time. Fortunately, our current technology has made this possible with zero risks of malfunction and with minimal discomfort. People often migrate between planets and they get rapidly used to their exoskeletons, the same as people get used to wearing appropriate clothes on an everyday basis. It’s as routinely done the same as shaving or wearing makeup, and they don’t interfere with any physiological activity, not even showering.
Today we have two Earths. Mars is our twin sister, and we take care of her as much as we do with our first planet. That’s our new world, the place for adventurers. It’s tougher over there than here on Earth, but that’s what convinces many to emigrate there. On the other hand, many Martians come to Earth to admire the Old World. There is nostalgia and a sense of reverence towards Mother Earth. Mars is also the best place for exile in the case of radical crimes; although it’s been a long time since this social punishment was last necessary. Casting someone out of society, or ostracism, is the worst penalty anyone could receive nowadays, since inveterate criminals are still given a chance to start afresh in the new world and the debts they incur with their crimes are paid by society as a whole. Since individuals and society are interconnected, it seems just logical that any crime committed by one of its members needs to be answered for by the whole society, which is responsible for indemnifying the harmed individuals.
I know that the paraterraformation of Mars may be of great interest to scientists and even laypeople from your era, but it’s not the object of this book, so I’ll have to disappoint you all by cutting it short. I’m sure in the not-so-far future scientific books will be written to pass down technology to you, but I’m not a scientist. This is actually one thing I’d like to try to explain: The passing down of information from the future to the past. As you well know from the relativity theory, the space-time continuum can be altered. Einstein’s equation shows that energy is correlative to mass, and Planck’s constant shows that energy is correlative to frequency, that is time. That means mass is correlated to time. There’s no time when there’s no mass. That twentieth-century building block helped construct the theory behind today’s time-traveling technology. We can loophole into the past while traveling to the future. Therefore, technically speaking, traveling to the past is impossible. What we do is travel to the future through a bent space that passes by the past. That has lots of implications for time traveling. Yes, the past is altered, but also the future. It’s just like bringing back souvenirs or memories from abroad. Of course, we can also alter other people’s past or memories, but, oddly, their present doesn’t change. This phenomenon is called a reality check. The past is malleable, the same as the future, but the present seems to be carved in stone.
Only information can travel faster than light. So no physical traveling is possible. In practice, what this means is that people from the past have visions of the future: premonitions, if you wish. They can predict the future. That’s all there is to time traveling. There’s also a limit to the passing down of information. When we reach a certain point, it becomes futile, the same as reading Shakespeare to a Neanderthal. That’s what we call the megagenerational gap. We basically can’t transmit information to different megagenerations than ours. They would hear them but not understand them. We could speak their language and explain in their terms, but we follow the principle of no rush. It’s better to give civilization time to grasp all concepts. The evolution of nature and humanity has been flawless and it couldn’t have gone faster. This principle is called the fate principle: we can’t rush our destiny.
So, to clarify: physical time-traveling is not possible, because there’s only one universe. There aren’t parallel realities that would branch out from our reality in the case of physical time travel. The past can fluctuate, but only in our memories. Our presence is carved in stone. Our mega-intelligence corrects our lives. So no matter how much information we send to the past, our present remains the same. We call this the principle of self-realization. Imagine a conversation: It changes the life of the person who sends the message and the life of the person who receives it. There’s interaction. That’s what happens with every input we give you. I could write to you right now the name of one of my ancestors and ask you to kill them and that would bring consequences in my life, which would be greater depending on the closeness of my relationship with my murdered ancestor. My current existence would’ve been a mere dream then, nothing more. There wouldn’t be a parallel reality because my current life would immediately cease to exist as it is, the same as dreams stop when we wake up. However, if some of you found out by yourselves who one of my ancestors was and kill them, nothing would change for me in my life. I would have simply been born from a different ancestry line and my consciousness would remain the same. This would be the same as if you killed my father after I was born: My consciousness wouldn’t be at risk.
This phenomenon is called the discretionary law: Only we can decide to alter our past or future, and we need to be aware of the changes; otherwise, it’s as if they hadn’t taken place at all. Imagine the reverse situation, in which someone who knows that you’re going to become paraplegic in an accident in your near future decides to prevent you from taking the unlucky trip, thus saving your legs. For you, only one reality would still exist: That of you being still able to walk. Nonetheless, this person can also use their discretion to tell you about your second reality: that of you being paraplegic. Thus, you can get an imaginary glimpse at your secondary reality, but you still don’t get to live it. Exactly the same would happen if some of you decided to kill one of my ancestors and record it in some place. If I read this and received the information that my ancestor was killed, I could imagine what my life would’ve been if I had been born from that ancestry line, but my current life wouldn’t change, except for maybe small details which would’ve been forgotten anyway.
Now, let’s imagine the most possible complicated situation: I tell you the name of my parents right now, thus revealing my identity and infringing the discretionary law. You could then murder them before I was born and I would still be alive, but from different parents. My life would then change drastically, since I would have the memory of the parents that were killed by my indiscretion and the clashing reality of my new parents. And if you did even better and killed me when I was younger, I would immediately cease to exist, but everything I did until I infringed the discretionary law would still exist. From the moment you kill me, no matter if you do it when I was a baby or right now, while I’m registering these words, you kill my consciousness, but not my existence. Some other consciousness will take over my existence and live in my stead. It’s as if existence could overrule time. Or, as we put it in the lifetime continuum rule: Existence prevails over time.
Time traveling is not physical traveling, but rather remembering the future. The space-time continuum is looped and you can see into your future, but you can’t change it, the same as we can’t change our own pasts. This is what Greeks understood very well: the fatality of our destiny. The entropic principle demands order in the universe: God doesn’t play dice. Descartes said: I think, therefore I am. Today we say: We exist, therefore a universe has been created for us. This is also called: the God instinct. The mere fact that we believe and seek a superior force ordering our lives is proof of its existence. The same as when we feel the chilliness of the wind or the warmth of the sun. Our intelligence must have been made in the likeness of this superior force; otherwise, communication wouldn’t be possible. And is it possible that the creation has a language that the creator can’t understand? And by creator, I mean: nature. There’s no doubt that nature is the creator, since we know today that it’s impossible to replicate nature in its full creational force. And we know that we communicate with nature because we have senses that capture it and we can recreate it and transform it, which is basic communication. So, according to the entropic principle, an observable universe implies observers. That is, we’re necessary to the universe; furthermore, we’re the natural consequence of an observable universe. We’re not by chance, we have a destiny: evolution and enlightenment.
This is where we draw the line nowadays. In your era, people talked about multiverses, which implied that some universes weren’t conducive to intelligent life. But even if these universes existed, what would be their purpose; and if no one could observe them, would they exist? Doesn’t existence itself implies communication? Can we exist in isolation from other entities? Can we have consciousness without a world to reflect it on? That’s where the multiverse theory falls apart. Or rather, yes, there are innumerable multiverses… in our imagination. As many as we can imagine. That’s the only way they can exist: hypothetically. For them to materialize, they’d have to enter our universe and be observable to us, and therefore they would just become one with our universe. Or, if they can’t be observable to us, then they wouldn’t exist to us. This is a simple tautology: There are parallel universes, that is, there are non-universes, which we can’t observe. It’s the same as saying: There are flying pigs that no one can see. The idea of multiverses is merely circular reasoning.