Is space travel to the planet Mars too dangerous?
At this time of humanity, it may be too dangerous for the human race NOT to pursue space travel to Mars. We humans are a competitive race, and sooner or later, one of our more techno-savy nations will attempt such travel. The question is "Which nation?" ... and to what end? Ultimately, whether space travel to Mars succeeds or fails, those nations that attempt it will gain a formidable body of scientific knowledge in the very process of such a technological feat ... knowledge that would certainly have other applications beyond space travel itself - for good or ill. This leaves us with a responsibility. To promote reasonable checks and balances on such a potential race to space, every able country, given the necessary resources and expertise should at least consider taking a shot at it.
Mars is so close, so alluring, it is apt to be a prime target for humankind's natural thirst for exploration and adventure. Our early forefathers braved vast oceans and other dangers to explore what is now known as the Americas. Travel to Mars would not be all that much different, given our current and projected state of technological advancement. As we know, nations warred over conquest of the New World ... not all explorers set out with a pure heart. The race to conquer space is much the same. We should hope at least for an even playing field; better yet, the top scientific minds and powers of each nation may learn to work together in the process, finding cooperation rather than competition amongst themselves. It could be a win-win situation.
The process of bridging the gap between ourselves and the Red Planet may actually assist in redeeming international relations. Though Mars is named for the mythological god of war, an actual "human race to the Red Planet" would be most successful if it brought us to arrive at a greater experience of planetary peace: nations diligently working together toward a shared goal.
On the other hand, we may pose a greater danger to Mars than to ourselves in traveling there - what will humans ultimately do to Martian resources if given the opportunity to colonize the Red Planet? Wherever we travel, it is ourselves we may face as the greater danger - unless we learn to be more responsible.
Will we bring our wars and other pollutants along with us? Will we be kinder to Mars than we've been to planet Earth? Perhaps that is the greater question. Travel to Mars affords us the opportunity to find out. Maybe such a venture will give us the opportunity to view ourselves and our home planet from a fresh perspective. It may well be what our world needs in the long run.