You are on a mission to Mars. Because of the length of the journey, you will never be able to return to Earth. What about our blue planet will you miss the most?
Gaia to the Greeks. Terra to the Romans. Earth to Westerners. The Big Blue Marble to the Apollo 17 crew. The Third Stone from the Sun to Jimi Hendrix. Back on Terra Firma. Mother Earth will swallow you, lay your burden down. What will I miss most about you?
Earth is currently the only planet we know of that can, and does, support “life” as it is currently defined by our science. That chemical reaction between carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen that makes us possible. I think that might be what I would miss most about Earth. The environment that allows my reaction to continue, without relying on enclosing myself in an artificial version of that environment.
I like the science fiction idea of “terra-scaping”, of building Earth-like planets from the elements. Perhaps someday our technology will catch up with our imagination. Until then, I think I’ll just stay home, thank you very much.