The possibility of humans living in another planet, Mars specifically, is not a new topic among scholars and folks within and outside the scientific world. Astronomers envision the planet being capable of housing humans with their basic needs like food and shelter. Adding to this is the new idea that tackles a greater need for human survival, one that deals with culture and independence.

An astrobiologist believes that if humans were to colonize Mars, they should be able to develop their own culture, values and government from the start.

In a paper published online in the journal New Space, astrobiologist Jacob Haqq-Misra from the non-profit organization Blue Marble Space Institute of Science argued that early independence could "slave off a war for independence" between future Martian settlers and their rulers from Earth and allow Martians to come up with new ways of solving problems.

According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, a nation cannot own a colony in the traditional sense, however, colonists could still fall under an Earthly country's legal jurisdiction. The 103 countries that signed the treaty includes the United States and Russia. A country claiming a territory in space is prohibited by the treaty. This argument of Haqq-Misra, which prevents Mars from being divided by governments and corporations on Earth, also involves some legal basis.

In his argument, Haqq-Misra further proposes conditions that will allow future settlers of Mars to independently develop their culture. One of his conditions include signing a planetary citizenship from Earth, as official Martians. People from Earth could not trade or ask for Martian resources. Scientific explorations could be conducted only to benefit both Earthlings and Martians. Martian land ownership by, well, Martians.

Prohibiting trade between the first settlers of Mars and Earth may, however, lead to problems for establishing our neighboring planet's first colonies. The early colonists would have to rely on Earth for supplies. It would cost roughly $450 million for a shuttle to be launched from the International Space Station and reach Mars to provide supplies. It would be difficult to get an expensive spacecraft out of Earth, and not expect anything in return. It might even reach a point where Martian settlers might resent living under Earthly governance.

"At some point in time, they will not like that anymore," said Frans von der Dunk, a space law processor from the University of Nebraska.

Haqq-Misra's argument is only beginning to put in some more thought among astronomers and scientists. Legal theorists have much time to put up a plan. In the meantime, Haqq-Misra emphasizes that "The eventual landing of humans on Mars will be of tremendous transformative value" 

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