It is sometimes said that the human settlement of other planets would be an act of arrogance. Consider instead that believing we should not go may actually be the more arrogant presumption. Is our wisdom greater than that primeval drive of life itself to proliferate and prevail? Do we have the right to intercede?
If we establish a sustainable and scalable presence on Mars this century, we will almost certainly do the same on other worlds within the next thousand years. Whether we terraform or develop advanced habitats, we will bring flora and fauna with us. As thousands of years turn to millions, and millions to billions, the subsequent potential for life to spread and blossom in the solar system (and perhaps beyond) could be vast beyond our imagining.