Roman Koshlyak, a former Facebook software engineer and current CEO of Troider, an experimental content publishing platform, has created a petition asking NASA, an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government, to “create Bitcoin wallets for Curiosity and Opportunity and put private keys on Mars.”
“Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission… since landing on August 6, 2012,” according to Wikipedia. Opportunity is much older, landing in 2002, but remains on Mars, undertaking explorations.
If the rovers are provided with a private key, sending bitcoins to that address would count as sending it to Mars with the first such transaction being a historical and culturally revolutionary event, for man would have, for the first time, sent money to outer space, from earth.
Accessing that money from Mars would be a different story. There are no humans on the planet and there is no internet in outer space. However, there are plans for both. Elon Musk, the founder of X.com, now known as PayPal, and the current founder of SpaceX, has revealed plans to send hundreds of satellites to space with the short-term aim of “creating a global communications system” and longer term plans of creating “a system that will stretch all the way to Mars”.
Musk has further revealed plans to colonize Mars itself, hoping to “make humans a “multi-planetary species” by creating a “self-sustaining city”” on our nearest planet. Both plans are highly ambitious as no man has been to Mars, it has no atmosphere nor, as far as we know, water. The scale of the task would be enormous, but we do have the resources and ability to form such colony.
Moreover, Musk may find support from the new Trump Administration which made space exploration “a major part of his final campaign message,” former Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Robert Walker and a senior advisor to Trump told Forbes.
Considering the many resources required to establish a base in Mars, some may wonder why we would want to do so. The main reason would be to ensure the survival of the species in case of any catastrophe. Another reason may be because earth’s population has been growing exponentially. Sooner or later we may run out of space. And yet a third reason may be because we can more easily explore the vast universe from Mars.
Perhaps more importantly, the establishment of an actual colony would accelerate scientific discoveries for man’s needs would drive the invention of ways to travel between the two planets faster (so providing the economic incentive due to demand,) establish fast communication links, harness the elements for the supply of oxygen, engineer water, as well as form a base from which other planets can be explored and colonized.
If such colony is established, basic commerce would need to arise, requiring its own currency. A traditional bank account might work, but an internet connection to earth would be scarce. The limit is the speed of light. That takes between 6-44 minutes for a two-way communication, depending on the relationship between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
To overcome such limitations, Bitcoin and likewise digital currencies may be the initial means of value transfer between the two planets as it can be easily transported to earth or mars without requiring any intermediary. The Martians can create their own private wallets or coins, with keys hidden under laminated scratchable bars, without requiring advanced tampering technology or huge transfers of cash, thus fully facilitating commerce while rarely connecting to the bitcoin network. Eventually, they might simply create their own digital currency, tradable both on earth and Mars.
This is a very futuristic world that now may be possible due to a combination of new advancements and technological discoveries. We may, in our lifetime, see a new frontier form and develop, with some of our bitcoins coming or going to Mars.
The last man to land on the moon was Eugene Cernan, 44 years ago. Considered the pinnacle of achievement, it opened our imagination, but the last 15 years have culturally turned us inwards. That may be about to change as men like Musk and, whether he is to believed or not, Trump, whose stated aim is to re-focus NASA towards deep space exploration, may allow us to dream again of a futuristic world with monthly interplanetary travels and space commerce.
NASA furnished image of Mars from Shutterstock.