Mars can wait: Facing the challenges of our civilization

Geoffrey Goodman, Dani Bercovich, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We are overwhelmed by warnings about inevitable geophysical and human problems. Earth is beset by escalating, manmade, environmental crises and our exploding population will eventually lack water, food and vital materials. This suggests, together with increasing poverty, deepening social unrest and advanced techniques for mass killing, that civilization will break down long before atmospheric CO2 or resistant microbes become catastrophic. Despite intensive searching, life has not been found in space, even though thousands of planets have been found and life there may be as problematic and unpredictable as on Earth. The human brain is already a ‘universe’, with 85 billion neurons and a hundred trillion synapses, more than the stars in our galaxy. Understanding consciousness, the brain, its aging and pathologies, and eliminating the propensity for human aggression are urgent challenges. During 1958–2012, NASA spent $800 billion. In contrast, the annual cost of brain disease in the U.S. is $600 billion, more than cardiovascular disease and cancer combined. We suggest that a massive switching of financial and human resources is required to explore the full potential of the human brain. Visiting Mars can wait. We further propose a novel two-brain hypothesis: the animal ‘brain’ evolved as two fundamentally different though interdependent, complementary organs: one electroionic (tangible, known and accessible), and the other, electromagnetic (intangible and difficult to access) – a relatively independent, stable, structured and functional 3D compendium of variously induced interacting EM fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-747
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Medicine and civilization
  • Neuron electromagnetic induction
  • Space exploration costs
  • Spintronics
  • Two-Brain Hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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