Why did God in his wisdom create the planet Mars?
We can say that ultimately God created Mars for his own glory but is it a static glory or a dynamic glory. If it is a dynamic glory then it involves the presence of life forms either native to the planet or arriving from another planet. And, what is the ultimate purpose of matter? I would say that matter is ultimately for life, that is matter implies the presence of principles of life so that when cosmic conditions are appropriate it become actualized. To what extent native life forms become actual on a given planet depends on the planetary conditions.
What is it that attracts us to Mars?
First, of all because it is within our reach. We are able to send probes and see Mars in it pristine glory and dream that some day man will set foot on it. To stand alone on Mars is to enter into a deep silence of mystery. To see barren rocks that have come from the hands of God untouched by human hand is to wonder why Mars is there and what it all means.
Man is attracted to Mars for many reasons but there is one only one universal and underlying factor-- man is attracted to Mars because God's face is seen in the radiance of its being, which is the radiance of Mars. As an object can be seen by the eye when light reflects off it, so man's soul can perceive the radiance of God in creatures because they emanate his presence, even from the seemingly barren desert of the Martian surface. As we read in Ps 19:1,
"The heavens declares the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims the work of his hands."
Is it God's will that man explore, visit and inhabit the planet Mars?
All indications point in this direction. Much thought has been written on the subject as exemplified in the science fiction Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars. Steven Squyres, the leading scientist of the Mars rover Spirit became interested in Mars as a young geology student at Cornell as he states, "I went into the place where they kept the pictures that the Viking orbiter was sending back from Mars at that time, and I started flipping through those pictures, ... I came out of that room four hours later knowing exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. What I liked about the planets and what really got me going on planetary exploration was the ability to take on a whole new world that nobody knew hardly anything about." (ABC News, Jan. 9, 2004, Person of the Week)
President George Bush has announced a new goal for space exploration. First a lunar base will be established and "with the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond." The reasons he gives for exploration of space are more practical, mine are theological reasons as presented above. He states, "Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives and lifts our national spirit." (Text from President Bush goal of Jan. 14, 2004)
Are We Alone?