Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Mars: About Animals

What I've seen about having a colony on Mars tends to assume that everyone will be vegan because bringing animals is too much trouble.   But being vegan doesn't solve any problems if people go crazy.   Humans seem to get a great deal of emotional help from animals.   Sure, maybe you don't, but in general it seems like, when we can't abide people any more, or if we're feeling isolated or lonely, having an animal to pet helps us emotionally.  That will be important.  Because we're going to be crammed together and bound to feel like we can't abide people any more, from time to time, and bound to feel exceedingly isolated and lonely from time to time.

Here's a little bit that Instapundit linked about therapy llamas visiting a nursing home.  Llamas may not be the first choice to bring to Mars, but it still illustrates something important.  We probably ought to plan on bringing a couple cats or dogs or have a couple of the individual "farm" animals in a petting zoo.   Sharon Lee and Steve White, in their Liaden Universe novels have the concept of a "Pet Library" where people who live or travel on space ships can go and visit the pets.

So... two mental health issues... food variety (puddings, mayonaise, stew with meat, cheese), and companionship.

Materials production... feathers in a pillow, wool sweaters, down jackets, and moccasins, which I talked about before.

Lastly, and probably something I won't go into at length... medical research.  If people are going to live on Mars and have babies on Mars, it would be good to have the experience and many generations of animal reproduction and development to study.  

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