Orbiting our celestial star at an average distance of around 228 million kilometers, Mars is often romanticized as the next home world for humanity. Scientists and space enthusiasts alike often wonder what would life be like living on the red planet, and dream of the future culture that will emerge there.

The first explorers upon Mars will probably rely on supplies previously shipped to the red planet in order to survive upon this harsh world. But in order to settle on this crimson globe, future Martians will need to import fruits, vegetables, grain, trees and pigs–yes pigs.

Pigs represent many things to many people on Earth. To some pigs are smelly, ugly, awful creatures that only look half way descent when staring in a children’s film. To others they are delicious beasts who fit perfectly into ones personal barbecue.

Regardless of the viewpoint, pigs may serve a useful purpose on Mars, and could ultimately determine the fate of not only future colonists, but whether or not Martians thrive upon that rusty world.

When compared to Earth, Mars is a nightmare, medically speaking. Orbiting hundreds of millions of kilometers away from the nearest advanced hospital (that is fully equipped), future colonists will be in trouble if any of them required an organ transplant.

If finding a matching donor on Earth was not hard enough, imagine trying to locate one on Mars, especially if future settlements are spread out all over the planet? Since pigs already share many biological traits with humans, they may make prime candidates for people looking to replace a failing organ (or two).

Not only would these Martian swine make excellent “donors,” but they may also help determine whether or not it is safe for mothers to carry babies full term on Mars.

When compared to Earth, Martian gravity is only about 38% as strong as our home world. While this may not pose any problems for humans venturing to the crimson planet, it may pose a threat to future humans intending upon raising kids upon the red deserts.

Since pigs probably breed a lot faster than humans, scientists could study how gravity affects several generations in the long term without endangering a future soul from our own species. If any problems did arise, pigs would give scientists an opportunity to develop drugs to counter side affects early on, which would aid future humans down the road.

Another reason Martians may desire to take along Miss Piggy (and friends) is the fact that pigs (especially wild ones) will often eat anything one puts before them.

If future colonists raising crop encounter any of their plants spoiling (for whatever reasons), they would be able to feed the decaying leftovers to our pink (and sometimes black) friends, leaving nothing to rot. Future colonists could then take the pig waste and turn it into fertilizer for their crops, which may be a better option than using our own.

As far as food goes, pigs would also provide an excellent alternative to just simply eating “fruits and berries” on Mars. Pigs would also be much easier to transport than say, cattle, as a little piglet would weigh much less than a baby calf (as launching objects to GEO can cost between $5,000-$10,000 per pound).

For those who prefer to love on their animal friends (instead of dining upon them), pigs would make excellent pets. Having an intelligence greater than dogs as well as a love for cuddling, space faring kids may enjoy raising their pet Wilbur or Babe.

While humans could also transport chickens, fish, cats and dogs to Mars, these may be a little harder to justify expense wise, making the former two a delicacy and the latter couple an exotic Martian pet.

With all of the benefits of transporting (and raising) terrestrial swine to the crimson world, it may not be too surprising to see Mars in the future being labeled as “the pig planet.”

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