It’s 2020, the beginning of a new decade, and while most of us started the year with our heads up to the skies gazing at fireworks, it seems they might not be heading back down to Earth for long as more and more Mars-headed space expeditions commence. Recently, I was fortunate enough to visit the Design Museum in Kensington and see the fantastically futuristic “Moving to Mars” exhibition which explores this exciting new prospect.

From a coffee cup that can’t be spilled made using capillary action, to a boot made by growing fungus on human sweat, the ingenious designs fascinate, surprise and even disgust the viewer. There was also a focus on exploring the psychological issues being so far from home might bring about, listed as one of the top ten risks for astronauts travelling to Mars, and what possible coping mechanisms could be made. One designer created perfumed gloves that smell of earth scents such as freshly cut grass, meant to make people feel more at home on the trip.

Open to all ages, there are a range of exciting activities, from never before seen footage of mars to tables with building bricks and drawing materials for children to design their own space equipment, the very generation who might experience human missions to Mars in their lifetime. 

It also includes a new fashion collection called “New Horizons” by Christopher Raeburn.  Made using lightweight insulating material designed by NASA for space exploration, such as solar heat blankets and parachutes, it is inspired by the necessity of reusing and recycling materials that future Martians will face on a planet where renewable resources are hard to come by.

But the question still remains, as phrased on their website: “should we stay or should we go?”. Is it truly ethical to corrupt a new planet and exploit its resources to make a home for us when we haven’t even dealt with our own global warming issues? Or is this the answer – a planet B that will ensure the human race continues long enough to provide the answers to our problems on Earth? 

Just before the exit there was a ‘voting’ board where people could place a magnet to voice their opinion on going to mars out of 6 options, from “Earthling”, those that don’t want to leave their home, to “Pioneer”, ready to pack their bags. The most popular one however was “Sceptic”, believing that we should fix Earth first before ruining another planet. This, I believe, shows that people still feel a strong sense of responsibility to preserve our blue planet and that we’re a long way from being able to let it become just a dot in the distance, in our new Martian homes.

Still running until the 23rd of February, the exhibition is great for both those interested in the idea of living a life on mars, and for those wanting just another reason to stay on earth.