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Can Humans Live on Mars?

Updated on July 16, 2011
The Red Planet  (
The Red Planet (

In the old days - and by old I mean hundreds of hundreds of years ago - the planet Mars was the stuff of legends. Astronomers would peer through there tiny lens and see a bright red dot. Later when telescopes became more advanced, so did the image of planet mars. Through the eyes of those young astronmars the planet Mars was a place where a great civiliaztion once lived.

It was once imagined like this:

The planet Mars was a wonderful world, full of heroes, of villians, of life. But the planet was dying and in a last ditch effort to save the planet the civilization tried to build a system of canals. At least that's what it appeared to the eyes and minds of humans a hundred years ago.

Of course the canals were merely an illusion and the planet Mars was found to be place that held more secrets than the ones it showed. Planet Mars living? There were no signs. The red planet was a planet that was more like an endless desert of red dust.

The mysteries have grown - and so have the answers.


Facts About Mars

First some facts about the planet mars:

  • The planet Mars has a canyon called Mariner Valley, a canyon five times deeper and a hundred times longer than the Grand Canyon.
  • How many moons does Mars have? The planet Mars has two moons, Deimos and Phobos.
  • What is the composition of the atmosphere of mars? The planet Mars has a very thin atmosphere which is mainly made up of carbon dioxide. This this atmosphere caused the planet to have a constant array of dust storms - with some that can last up to two years.
  • How long would it take to get to the planet Mars? It would take six months to fly a space shuttle to Mars, and about twice that time to return.
  • Nix Olympus is the largest volcano in our solar system, and dwarfs Mount Everest in size. It's about 4 times as big as our great mountain.
  • Traces of water have been found frozen in some area of the planet Mars.


Can Humans Live On Mars?

The question everyone is asking - not just because we're curious, but because we're beginning to have too - can humans live on mars?

For a more detailed visit on how this could happen visit here.

The simple answer to the question is, of course, no, humans cannot live on Mars - at least not yet. To live on the planet Mars it would first have to be changed by the process of terraforming - or, in layman terms, make the land more Earth-like.

The way I look at it, it can happen in a four step process:


1. We make a trip to Mars. A real trip. We deck out a few space shuttles and send them to that distant red rock. It would take six months to reach the planet Mars, which would be the longest journey yet for any astronaut. Once landed the crew would have to set up temporary domes. There would have to be a few different kind of domes such as:

  • A dome for living. The astronauts would be staying on the planet Mars for a while, and would need some sustainable living quarters. This means we would have to take some of the vocabulary from star trek and have some decent life support.
  • A greenhouse dome. Start growing plants, and various other vegetables. This would do a couple things: It would provide more sustainable resources as well as be a testing facility to see if life can be sustained. This would be vital for later goals; also it would provide extra oxygen for the people inhabiting the land.
  • A research dome. Many tests would have to take place before any serious steps towards terraforming the planet Mars could take place. This means fully understanding the composition of the atmosphere of mars, as well as what the different cycle of the sun had on the human body.

2.  After enough research of the land takes place it's time to start building permanent domes.  This would mean that the greenhouse domes were a huge success and that life support could become a renewable resource.  These new domes would be much bigger and much more advanced than the previous ones, and would able to to sustain large populations. 

A first settlement would be created.  It would be a guinea pig of sorts, and would be risky.  Most of the crew who lived in the dome would be certified astronauts with a few select civilians. 

3.  This is where the composition of the atmosphere on the planet Mars would have to change.  This would mean melting much of the frozen water on the ice and releasing the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Eventually a new atmosphere would become balanced, one that was more stable - one that lacked dust storms. 

The next would be to start planting small plants into the soil.  This would be a long drawn out process, but is essential if the planet is to ever be like Earth.

4.  Not for thousands of years after initial landing.  This is the final step and would occur after the land is full of the plants that were seeded years earlier.   Power plants would be created.  The domes wouldn't be necessary.  We would live on the land just like on Earth.


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    • profile image

      jose 5 years ago

      its cool information

    • profile image

      the voice 5 years ago

      Crazy thought for all of you to think about tonight. Scientist said that there used to be water on Mars and before the atmosphere decade that life may have lived on Mars. Now to the Bible; in the Bible its says Eden was much warmer then on Earth. So with these two things you see that MAYBE the human race are the Martians that left there civilization on Mars to the next planet to hold them. Earth. this also explains the weird phenomenons from earlier civilizations. If we look at the animals on earth none of then have evolved like the human race has. We are the most complex specie on Earth.

    • profile image

      kruti patel 5 years ago

      aww thanks for this topic update .

      actully, i'm find about this topic cuzz i want to make sure if earth is finish in future so we can survive on mars and mars is such beautiful planet but there are too much rocks.....

      so can if this possible we can survive on mars ?

    • profile image

      haty 5 years ago

      my thoughts were exact expect my idea was reverse the carbon dioxide into nitrogen inside bio domes a couple decades people can live in terraforming would grate unless we discover faster then light something in a hunderd years ill dead then lol so mars all the way

    • pconoly profile image

      Pamela K Conoly 5 years ago from Fort Worth,Tx.

      Interesting! In a ruffing it kind of way! Kind of scary at the same time. Good article!

    • profile image

      Jlg 5 years ago

      Nasa , this is or next home the red planet:)

    • profile image

      tim stevens 6 years ago

      I want to make that trip to mars whether i can return or not. I think nasa should give this chance to ppl who have nothing to live for here but feel they can make a difference there

    • profile image

      jordan kyle roux (11 years south africa) 6 years ago

      planet mars would be sustable for humans to live on if we only can plant shrubs and it will go through stages such as,the atmosphere will be created, the water will un freeze,the atmosphere might make clouds for it to rain. if i could only do something about it to make NASA or scientists to start the process of terraforming that planet.

    • profile image

      jennie ann gayas 6 years ago

      as a student i would rather live on earth coz planet mars need more water,atmosphere,higher temperature,and a protective magnetic field that mean people can't live at planet mars.

    • profile image

      BoostMyTc 6 years ago

      Hasn't any one played BioShock Lets just build a big dome. Find the perfect place to put it, like next to the frozen water so we cant melt it and use it. We can make oxygen and take plants and trees that also make oxygen. Not to sure what you would do about food. maybe it could be big enough to have fields to grow crops. Do like we do now grow corn and feed it to everything and every body. Maybe mini compact farms cows, pigs, chicken, and turkey, feed them all corn like everyone is doing now scary but true. Why doesn't all the crazy rich people/world leaders do this make a New World I mean its free land right haha other than the money it will take to do all of that.

    • profile image

      Comp 6 years ago

      Cant u just see they are using plant to see whertha the is life or no why they dont us an animal like a babbun

    • profile image

      happy man 22 6 years ago

      yes you can liveon mars just need to put a permantant dome around the planet bullet proof water proof astrode proof and stuff like that then put three other domes then start with take a quarter of the planet and start with houses and plants and stuff then with half of the planet goes to reachsearch and the other half goes for other stuff.P.S. we might want a deffence system for Rusia and Other countries that hate us

    • TheWorldNow profile image

      TheWorldNow 6 years ago from Washington DC

      The ice that is on the surface of Mars is hypothesized to have melted in subterranean 'caverns' due to geothermal heating. It is even speculated that microbial life could exist beneath the Martian surface, since their would be water and temperatures conducive to normal life.

      This is just theory until they get a probe on Mars with a drill big enough to take a sample from deep below the surface.

      I wrote a hub about manned exploration of Mars and another one on Water on Mars, which talk a little about the subterranean caverns, but I'd honestly say the best source will be NASA and JPL articles.

    • vanchen profile image

      vanchen 6 years ago from British Columbia

      @TheWorldNow I haven't heard about that, sounds very interesting. What are the possibilities of living underground on Mars?

    • TheWorldNow profile image

      TheWorldNow 6 years ago from Washington DC

      Scientists are speculating whether it is possible to live underground since it may be habitable to Earth-like life there.

      Great hub! I enjoyed reading it!

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      callmerobertboblol 6 years ago

      in truth if we did create mars into a life like planet of ours we might end up tossing old people there due to massive population increase here

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      prakashthiraviam 7 years ago

      i am excited about d info.done by this..

    • profile image

      kunoon 7 years ago

      ya its really very interesting

    • profile image

      DavidLivingston 7 years ago

      This has been a question for years. Still a wonder up to now.

    • Druid Dude profile image

      Druid Dude 7 years ago from West Coast

      I think that Mars is used up. No deposit, no return. I believe that Mars was home to our distant ancestors, and that we left there when Earth was ready for colonization. Someday, we may move to Venus. Red, White and Blue. Whaddayaknow bout that. Hmmm.:)

    • profile image

      ziya 7 years ago

      i think we couldent live on mars beacause were is the water the oxygen were is it? how are we going to live?

    • This Mike Guy profile image

      This Mike Guy 7 years ago

      Excellent job.

    • vanchen profile image

      vanchen 7 years ago from British Columbia

      Thanks for the impute clearblue.

      I agree! I hope that we'll be able to focus on space travel and explore places like Mars.

    • clearblue99 profile image

      clearblue99 7 years ago from Clear Blue Sky

      it is only a matter of time before the dreams of many become a reality and we have a space flight to mars. I hope in our lifetime!

    • profile image

      kevin 7 years ago

      i think you can just build a huge complete i mean huge and were people can work and eat or just a little complex to test all of this out that im going to explain and then progressively get bigger and have scientist do research and live on mars at the same time while drinking water and eating. and just turn the co2 into o2 as well and we can convert them into o2 we have the tools to do that and all and we can also have power on mars if the human race is willing to put a power plant on mars or a mini power plant or something to power the place or places we will live on mars. we can use other gases on mars as well we can live on mars because the gases on mars we can turn into water and o2 and we can ship food we ever we need to. even tho it dose take a pretty good time to get there by that time we live on mars we will be making a better transport system or ship to get to mars really quick in an hour instead of 6 months and bingo there you go we have transport there faster and food.

    • vanchen profile image

      vanchen 7 years ago from British Columbia

      Awesome input lonestar. Looks like you know much more on the subject than I do; perhaps you should make your own hub about it!

      Do you think if we could solve the problem of runaway freezing that the other aspects of terraforming would come much more easily?

      It appears to me that once we got over the hump of creating a sustainable environment for water that the rest would - with a lot of work, of course - fall into place.

    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      An interesting Hub, vanchen.

      There are difficulties with terraforming Mars. Simply melting polar CO2 ice won't do it, because the CO2 will merely re-freeze in the polar regions. CO2 is a good greenhouse gas, but it needs some help. Dumping much more gas onto Mars (perhaps from redirected comets) could help. With this, you might reach a threshold where the CO2 cannot freeze fast enough, and weather cells might bring heat from equatorial regions to the polar regions to ameliorate the freezing effect.

      Perhaps the largest task would be that of transporting many thousands of cubic kilometers of water to Mars. If this comes as ice, it would need to be warmed up. Mirrors in orbit? Warm up the ice with a sprinkle of dark soot on top? Only after you have significant water in the atmosphere will the dust problem be more manageable.

      The largest danger in such a project is that of runaway freezing -- the opposite of the runaway greenhouse experienced on Venus. Deep oceans can help make Mars darker and thus warmer (dark objects absorb light and emit heat or infra-red). If salt can be found on Mars, then the new oceans can be made more freeze-resistant. The northern oceans would be far deeper than those in the South. The potential for runaway freezing would be greater there.

      I love the subject. I've been thinking about this stuff for forty years. And I'm glad you created this Hub. Thanks!

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      Shaelyn 7 years ago


    • vanchen profile image

      vanchen 7 years ago from British Columbia

      @TeamSTM: Mars is just like a more grandeur Earth in many ways. I think it's biggest mountain is hundreds of times bigger than Mount Everest - just to put things into perspective.

      @Rebecca: We would need to terraform it or live in some kind of habitable structure, like a dome.

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      Rebecca-Jo 7 years ago

      if humans were to live on mars, what's would be their requirements?

    • TeamSTM profile image

      TeamSTM 7 years ago

      I don't think this is impossible. From what I am aware of Mars could become a living Breathing Planet, this would take more then 1000 years, especially if scientist are still thinking of using teraforming or greenhouse gases to do the job!

      I will say, it would be cool to explore the various landmarks, mountains and ice-caps of Mars. Honestly, I think this could happen one day in the Future, Nasa is still talking about a Moon Colony so who knows!

      Anyway, this is an enjoyable HubPage!!

    • nicole.reilly profile image

      nicole.reilly 7 years ago from Austin, TX

      An interesting hub. Still, I want to live here on Earth with my family. Great job on this!

    • profile image

      Antoine 7 years ago

      I agree with you tma

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      tma 7 years ago

      I don't think people can live on Mars, since there is no proof from the scientists that people can live on Mars. As a result, people must never live on Mars. It's just impossible!!

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 7 years ago

      I really enjoy the 'science' side of things and possibilities of sustaining life elsewhere. Until we have that fully seeded and flourishing, I guess we will have to settle for Ghosts of Mars :) I like your progression - good hub!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      As a teacher, this information valuable for me. I'll share this hub to my student. I think they'll liked it. I rate this Up.


    • strutzas profile image

      strutzas 7 years ago from Kualapuu, Hawaii

      Mars is a beautiful planet but i think no other planet like earth.

    • vanchen profile image

      vanchen 7 years ago from British Columbia

      Nice point ediggity. I figure it would have to be done out of necessity.

    • ediggity profile image

      ediggity 7 years ago

      I think I would rather stay on Earth. Haven't you seen Total Recall? Living on Mars obviously won't turn out well.