Before We Settle on Mars, Let’s Make Sure It’s Not Already Occupied

While the Technology Is Within Reach, We Haven't Figured out How to Minimize the Risks to Both Humans and Martians

Humanity has dreamed of going to Mars for decades. Mars appeals to us as a possible second home because of how Earthlike it is—and how much more Earthlike it might become, given a whole lot of human ingenuity and planet-scale engineering. Furthermore, Mars has the potential to be habitable by humans, though it is potentially already inhabited by microorganisms that could be DNA-based life forms.

Recently, NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, the Mars One Foundation and the Mars 2117 Project all have their eyes on transporting humans to the red planet. …