If you like an uncrowded sandy beach, well, there's one waiting for you on Mars. There could be life on this planet. Any whales in the photo accompanying this article? Sadly, it looks like the tide is out right now. But Mars is free from the tourist crowds, and so far, there's not much litter!

But now the Billionaire Boyz Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk are seriously suggesting that they can "colonize" Mars and turn it into a tourist attraction. And they are putting their money — which used to be our money — where their mouths are. I'm all in! Doubts and economic ideology be damned. And I'm not alone. To a public and press sick of pandemics and politics, this otherworldly bravado has been a tonic. Are you coming with us?

Branson told Forbes Magazine that he wants his tourists and colonizers to be "fun people." I hope we are a whole lot of fun, since we'll be tightly jammed together for the 140 million mile, five- to 10-month trip. One way. We'll be very, very close friends by the time we get there and even closer by the time we get back. But we will get back, because rocket technology today is so advanced that breakdowns on space equipment are almost unheard of. Musk's most recent rocket ship explosion was just an aberration, and anyway, as he said, "We learned a lot!"

Less helpful in damning the doubts is that Mars' average temperature is -67 degrees Fahrenheit. So OK, we'll need sweaters. Mars has only 38% of our gravity, which makes it easy for those gorgeous clouds of iron-laden dust to blow around in 50-mph winds. Rain won't spoil our vacation, either. It hasn't rained since … well, it's been a long while. Furthermore, the dust might shield us somewhat from the sterilizing effect of harsh ultraviolet light radiation from the sun. Mars has no ozone layer to protect living things. I guess we'll need an umbrella after all. A really big one.

Oxygen on Mars is 100 times less prevalent than on Earth, so we'll have to train at high altitudes before we start the fun trip. Way, way high. The Boyz speak of introducing microbes on the planet to start up oxygen production. Let's haul in quite a load of them to make the dream of life on Mars actually come true. We'll scatter them around our space junk and discarded protein squeeze tubes at the new Mars Landfill. Just like all the other wildlife we've seen so far on Mars (none, but the rovers are still looking), microbes are fascinating even if they don't have one-tenth the biological grandeur of a chickadee. Or even a deer tick.

Harvard and NASA scientists agree that Mars is the most "habitable" planet in our solar system, besides our own. Venus places second in habitability, but at an average temperature around 850 degrees Fahrenheit, a top-notch air conditioner would be a nice touch. Check Consumer Reports for ratings on these before the rush begins.

My advice for each of the Billionaire Boyz is to try to forget about Uranus, even though they may be curious about it.

Yet another option would be to spend their treasures — which used to be our treasures — to protect Earth. It might be the only blue planet we'll ever have the option to ignore, to ruin or to save.

Gary Payne is a sociologist at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minn.