Mission To Mars. How To Colonize Our Favorite Planet.
A Little History.
Going back to the ancient Sumerians, mars has been in the people's imagination. Watching this red object, thinking it was a god flying through the heavens. Mars has been recorded in Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient China, and India. Many cultures thought that the planets were gods. With its fiery appearance most believed mars to be the god of war. It wasn't until the seventeenth century that scientists got a good approximation of its distance from earth. Mars is about 143 million miles from the sun and about 90 million from the earth. Mars also has two moons Phobos, and Deimos.
Mars is there, waiting to be reached.— Buzz Aldrin.
The Soviets were the first to send a probe to Mars. They had Mars 2, and Mars 3 which were the first man made objects to touch the Martian surface. The first successful flyby if the planet was by the Mariner 4, and Mariner 9 was the first craft to successfully orbit an alien planet. Though a lot of the Soviet missions were a failure, they were the first to get to the red planet. In the late '80s they also sent two probes to study the planets moons, though both missions failed. More than half of all missions to Mars have been unsuccessful.
The Problems With Space Travel.
Today we have the technology to get to Mars. Though if anyone dared to venture there it would most likely be a death sentence. For one, solar radiation would be a big problem. The Earth's magnetic field, and to a lesser degree the atmosphere, protect us from the perils of this deadly energy. Out in interplanetary space there is no such luxury, unless we bring it ourselves. To combat this radiation we would need to have a craft shielded by thick metal that could absorb, or reflect it. Now we can make a craft like this, although, it would be hard to get it to space.
Another problem is in the gravity. Humans are born in the gravitational field of the Earth. And after some time without it the body starts breaking down. When the astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space he was told upon returning that he couldn't go back, due to the strain that it had caused. There are more problems than this to contend with if we want to go to Mars.
Living On Mars.
Any missions to Mars today would be a one way trip, assuming that we survive. So now that we are on the red planet, how would we live? Well this is going to be a problem similar to what we faced getting there. Mars itself does not have an active magnetic field, and has a very faint atmosphere. So with little in the way of protection from radiation we would need to shield ourselves. An easy way to do this would be to build underground. The martian surface has many lava tubes leading underground. And these lava tubes would be easy to use as a first base on mars.
Now that we have our base we are going to need some more essentials for life, namely food. Experiments have shown that it is possible to grow in the martian soil. One caveat to this is, the martian soil is full of a toxic substances called perchlorates. These toxins may be passed from the plants to humans through consumption. Even worse they may be absorbed through skin contact, which is likely due to the fine powder that sticks to many surfaces. So just going outside, you might end up with dust on your suit. And this will make it back to the habitat, and it might end up everywhere.
Should Colonize Mars?
Water On Mars.
Now one important thing we can not live without is water, fortunately Mars has plenty of this. There is enough water in the polar ice caps to cover the surface of Mars. And even more of it trapped under the surface in other places. Now water is a great way to shield ourselves from radiation, so this will be a great benefit. Also we could use the water to make hydrogen, and oxygen to breathe, and eventually make fuel.
A lot of talk about terraforming Mars wants to melt to ice caps. This would give us a supply of liquid water and evaporate the CO2 that is trapped there. All of this CO2 would help with the warming of the planet, from the greenhouse effect that the gas brings. This would be great due to the fact that Mars average temperature is about -200o C.
Why Mars Indeed?
The Red Planet.
Our fascination with Mars is in itself fascinating. Why so much emphasis on this small, red, toxic, dustball. Many people think that we should ignore Mars and choose a safer option, like Venus. Our planetary "twin" has a few pros that Mars does not. The atmosphere on Venus is many times thicker, for one. This would provide an excellent shield to all that deadly radiation. Another thing is the atmosphere contains a lot of heat making it the hottest planet in our Solar system. Now we would not want to be on the surface of the planet, due to extreme pressure and heat. But high in the skies of Venus we might be able to build a city in the clouds. With just the air from our planet it would be enough to float in the venusian skies due to their density. And at a certain height the temperature would be comfortable enough that we would be able to walk around without any protection, although we wouldn't because of the clouds of sulfuric acid.
So i for one would like to see us with a city in the clouds, walking around in gravity similar to our own. Though Mars will likely be the planet that humans first contact other then our own. What would we find there? Maybe we will find evidence that Mars had life billions of years ago. It is also thought that life may not have originated in Earth. We could all be martians, and have been brought here from a impact that hit the red planet billions of years ago, and our ancestors were that life.
What do you think?