The human population will need at least three planets to survive, said Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist from the Langley Research Center of NASA. “The whole ecosystem is crashing. Essentially, we are too many out there. With Asians who are now billions, we will need three other planets.”
The adjustment of Mars to human environmental conditions will take about 120 years, argues Bushnell, but until then we will need other planets to survive.
It is not the first time when someone expresses the necessity to colonize other planets, however, these ideas are usually proposed as a way of survival of the human race in the case of a disastrous collision with an asteroid or nuclear war conditions.
In 2012, the World Wildlife Fund proposed a solution of the three planets, arguing that we are using 50% more resources than the Earth can sustain, and that by 2050 we will need three planets to sustain the rate at these levels.
However, Bushnell does not imply that we need to abandon the Earth, but warns that we should limit consumption. A particular solution he proposes is agriculture with seawater.
Halophytes that grow in salty soils could potentially be used to create biofuels from the cultivation of plants in the oceans (or at least could exploit seawater to irrigate plants in non-productive agricultural regions in the world).
Scientists that have based entire research on this possibility insist that some pilot programs in Laos, Pakistan, Algeria and other poor countries should begin sometime this year.
Bushnell argues that this would solve most of our problems: “If we start the cultivation of halophytes in wastelands, with the usage of seawater, in 10-15 years we would have fuel that costs $50 a barrel. This is half of the present oil cost. With the help of this method, we could solve all the problems concerning environment, climate and energy, as well as lack of food and water.“