Could Mars Be The Next America?
It's exactly 6.12pm here in Kiserian as I pen this story. The incandescent Sun is setting in the Ngong Hills that form the Western horizon of my home-area. On my part, I have been feeling rather lazy and lousy most of the afternoon. To cheerful myself up, I have decided to let my imagination loose by thinking about the worlds beyond.
As you probably know, we live in a mysterious universe. A very mysterious universe indeed. It is said that 99.86% of the mass in the solar system is in the Sun. That means planets like Jupiter, Saturn and our own Earth only account for 0.14% of the mass in the solar system. Interesting, isn't it?
To make the story more interesting, it is said that our galaxy (the Milky Way) is made up of billions of stars, some of which are bigger than the Sun. And there are billions of galaxies in the universe, some of which are bigger than the Milky Way.
All those stars and galaxies in the universe imply that there are trillions and trillions of planets. I wouldn't be surprised if future generations find one that supports life. I am thinking they could discover a planet in another galaxy where people go to after they die.
And I am also thinking about the possibility of future generations establishing the first interplanetary civilization. But which planet will they first inhabit? I surmise it will be Mars, a neighbouring planet that was named after the harsh Greek god of war.
The naming of the planet was fitting and appropriate because research has shown the planet to be too harsh to support life. Its atmosphere, made up mainly of carbon dioxide, is so thin that a man landing there without a space-suit would die in minutes. And the planet is so cold that some atmospheric gases have condensed into dry ice.
But why am I surmising that Mars will be the first planet to be conquered by future generations? For four reasons.
First, the planet is near to Earth and isn't as hot as Venus, the other neighbouring planet.
Secondly, unlike on Earth where it is threatening life, global warming will make Mars more habitable. Should the Earth become unbearably hot due to global warming, I foresee future generations seeking refuge in Mars, just like the way people in the 18th Century emigrated from the Old World to America in search of freedom and wealth.
Thirdly, Mars is rich in iron oxide, sulphates and silicates which could produce enough oxygen to support life in the process of extracting iron, sulphur and silicon, the elements that mostly drive the economy.
Fourthly, I foresee future generations conquering Mars because its force of gravity is weaker than that of the Earth. That means less energy would be required to walk, play and carry goods. And the weak gravity would make exploration to further planets easier because less energy would be needed to launch rockets into space.
Yes, Mars has the potential to be the next land of opportunities. And should future generations succeed in conquering it, I foresee the Martian Dream - Mars version of the American dream.
If you've enjoyed this story of mine on why Mars could be the next America, you might also enjoy another one on "The Thuita Doctrine" which I wrote last year. Just click on that link in blue to dive into the story.
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What Freedom Entails
When I withdrew from classes at JKUAT as well as from church activities back in 2008, I spent most of my time alone hanging around the university and occasionally visiting Thika Town and Nairobi City. When at the university, I would either be in the fields or in the library where I read a number of books including one about the history of Japan and another about the development of the Swahili language. I also read a book that encouraged me to be an avid reader.
A question that might pop up in your mind is: why did I withdraw from classes at the university? Well, I did so partly to acquire freedom. Having studied the first five books of the Bible earlier on that year, I had come to identify with the fate of the Israelites who spent their time in bondage in Egypt as narrated in the Book of Exodus. I felt like I too was in bondage because I was pursuing an engineering course that was turning out to be abstruse for me, couldn't feel at ease with people, was regularly confused and didn't have opportunities to travel as I wished.
To try breaking free from that bondage is what led me to hang around the university doing my own things. I also did visit Nairobi City as I have said, where on one night, I saw prostitutes for the first time in my life at a red-light district in the city known as Koinange Street. The prostitutes, to put it bluntly, were dressed to kill. Even though I did admire their bodies as any straight man should, I am glad I never became one of their customers.
As part of feeling free, I also planned to travel to Magadi, a clean mining town about 112 kilometres from Nairobi City that I had never visited. But I gave up on the plan when I got mixed up on where buses to Magadi Town were boarded.
My search for freedom was put to an end by the university authorities when they caught up with me a few months later. They incarcerated me in a police cell that night they found me. The following day, I was taken to a professor who thought I was mentally ill, so he referred me to a psychiatrist who had me forcefully admitted at Thika Nursing Home.
Earlier on in this decade when I thought of how I was handled that time the university authorities caught up with me, I felt bitter to the point of wanting to sue the university. But coming to think of it today, I am of the opinion that the university authorities took the right action on me by incarcerating me in a police cell and admitting me in a nursing home. Why do I think so? Because back then, I didn't understand what genuine freedom entails.
First, to be free means having enough money to meet our needs. We can't be free if we are living in want. That time in 2008 when I withdrew from classes at JKUAT, I was lucky to have money to sustain me which I had borrowed from Higher Education Loans Board (HELB). I wonder what would have become of me if I ran out of cash while hanging around the university; that's why I am of the opinion that the university authorities took the right action when they caught up with me.
At the moment, I am working on earning money from my writing and music talents. The day I will receive a cheque from earnings of that work will be the time I will feel truly free.
Secondly, to be free means thinking clearly as well as being free from fear, guilt, hatred and jealousy - something I didn't entirely understand ten years ago when I went astray at JKUAT.
And lastly, to be free also entails relating well with our families, work-mates and others around us. That time I stopped attending classes at JKUAT in 2008, it was foolish of me to stay alone and still think I was becoming free. If I could wave the magic wand and roll back the clocks of time to 2008, I would talk to my family, friends and a counsellor about my predicament instead of living alone.
To sum up my points, to be free entails having enough money to meet our needs, thinking clearly, being free from fear, guilt, hatred and jealousy as well as relating well with those around us.
And to be free is the best thing to have on Earth. That's why President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in an address to the U.S. Congress in 1941, said "...we look forward to a world founded upon four essential freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression... The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way... The third is freedom from want... The fourth is freedom from fear."