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Spaceship Earth, Mars, our second home? (and how will we get there?)

Updated on December 7, 2019
lawrence01 profile image

The universe is vast and wonderful. It can make us feel so small and insignificant, but it can also make us feel so special that we're here.

Moving house? How about moving planets?

Could this be home for some of Humanity in the future?
Could this be home for some of Humanity in the future? | Source

Mars and our future.

A few weeks ago we started looking at Earth as a spaceship and trying to see who or what our neighbours were.

So far we've looked at Mercury, Venus, the Moon and we began to look at Mars.

Mars has always fired the imagination, first as a 'god' of war and destruction, but more recently as a planet of wonder that just might help us unlock some of the secrets of the universe and help us to answer some of the questions we've had since that first caveman looked up to the stars and wondered if there was someone else 'out there' watching us.

Maybe in the next few decades, we might have an answer to that.

Mars and Martians.

One very popular theme in science fiction has always been the idea of an alien invasion, or contact by beings from another world, maybe another Galaxy even! So we've sent probes out to 'have a look'.

They weren't just sent out to explore, but many of the ones that were sent into 'deep space' were fitted out with equipment that recorded where mankind was located in the galaxy and also information about our species and history.

Some of the probes were sent out to carry out 'flybys' of the planets in the outer solar system before they headed out into interstellar space, but some of the other probes were given specific missions and sent direct to planets closer to us to give us a better idea of what they are really like, one question that was on every scientist's mind was "are there really Martians?"

The reality was that until the 1970s we didn't know! We knew they probably weren't in human form, but we had no idea if there was life on the red planet!

We've been able to see Mars with the naked eye since the dawn of recorded history, it's a place that was so familiar, a place we thought we knew well, but at the same time, we know so little about.

Back in the late 19th century, we thought we'd found evidence of life and intelligent creatures that might have lived on the fourth planet in ancient times. This theory held sway right up until the first space probes landed in the 1970s when we saw what was really there, and it raised more questions than it answered!

Mars once had water.

That stunned the scientific community when it was discovered, that the barren fourth rock from the sun actually once was covered in water!

But it raised another question, Where did the water go?

It also revealed a few other things, like Mars once having a magnetic field. (it doesn't anymore) and all these things left us with more questions than they gave answers.

What does Earth have that Mars doesn't?

First encounters of the Mars kind

The first spacecraft to reach Mars were Viking 1 and 2 launched in 1975 9about two months apart) and they arrived about ten months later in 1976.

Tasked with what was the most ambitious task at the time both of the landers put down on the surface and began taking samples, relaying the results back to earth, we had begun to get an idea of what Mars was like, and it raised more questions than answers.

Could we live there?

Even back then people were asking whether it would be even possible for man ever to live on the red planet. Viking wasn't meant to answer that question, besides there were huge obstacles to even getting there that had to be dealt with first.

But first, let's take a look at some of those differences.


Our Moon

Of all the planets in the inner solar system, Earth is the only one that has a decent-sized Moon!

At roughly one third the size of the planet, our Moon plays a major role in helping the Earth in many ways, but there's another, much more important role that the Moon might play in helping life here on Earth.

It is thought to help generate our magnetic field!

It's the earth's magnetic field that not only protects us from harmful radiation but also makes sure that the sun doesn't strip our atmosphere and oceans away from us (watch the video).

How it might work is quite simple really, see the earth has a molten outer core, we know that the Moon affects water on the surface of the planet helping to give us the tides and the like, it may be that below ground gravity from the Moon might have the same effect, creating a moving pool that constantly moves and creates the dynamo effect that gives us our magnetic field!

Think of it, the only reason we might have had a chance of life here on earth was that because long ago, when the earth was young there was a collision with a monster of a rock that first vaporised the whole planet and then reformed it into two bodies, one became the earth, and the other our Moon, Mars never had that!

Mars does have a Moon, actually two of them, but they're nothing like the size of earth's Moon

Phobos


Discovered in 1877 Phobos is about 9,000 KM (6,000 miles) from Mars and is only 22km (13 miles) in diameter. so small that its gravity hasn't pulled it into the shape of a circle, it just looks like a large chunk of rock.

Deimos

Also discovered in 1877 (by the same Astronomer) Deimos is only 12 km wide (71/2 miles) and orbits around 26,000 km (about 14,000 miles) out. Both are basically asteroids that were captured by Mars and don't really do much for the planet.

Interesting fact


The Book ' Gulliver's Travels' was written around 1720 but in the book Mars was credited as having two Moons...How could the author Johnathan Swift have guessed that? I'll leave you to think on that one.

Asaph Hall The Astronomer who discovered them named them after the twin sons of Aries the Greek god of war who apparently always accompanied him into Battle, kind of fitting really

This is an awesome song (Okay it's got a double meaning in the song)

Can we actually live there?

"Mars is no place to raise a kid.

In fact, it's as cold as hell"

So Elton John once sang

But could we actually live there?

We wouldn't be able to enjoy 'the great outdoors' but yes, it would be possible with present technology, the real question is why would we want to go there?

Mars is only just over half the size of earth, and as such has probably only half the resources the Earth had, but the big difference is that on Mars they're untouched! No one has dug them up yet, but that won't be for long!

There are plans afoot for going to Mars, and it's not government agencies wanting to go there!

NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, INSA (Indian National Space Administration) and CNSA (China) are all planning to explore the planet with a view of setting up Bases there. SpaceX, Boeing and Lockheed Martin are all working on building the technology to get us there. Elon Musk and Richard Branson (both major driving forces in space technology) along with Jeff Bezos (Amazon) all have the goal of setting up a permanent settlement (in Musk's case he wants a city of a million in the next hundred years) on Mars and they're taking steps to make it happen.






Getting to Mars

isn't all that easy. Only about 30% of probes sent to Mars have actually made it, and when you think of the money and resources invested in these projects you realize there has to be some major ROI (Return On Investment) for people and governments to throw that kind of money around, and there is.

Ever been for cancer treatment? Or a procedure where they had to 'look inside' your body (CAT scan or MRI) they were both developed with technology that came out of the space programmes, what about Velcro? Ever used it? That was also developed during the Apollo space programme.

The latest is a synthetic 'leaf' that can purify the air by imitating photosynthesis in plants thus taking carbon out of the atmosphere!

Non-stick cookware is another

Hypersonic flight isn't that far away, and even aircraft engines that don't need aviation fuel but run on power generated by solar panels in the wings.

All these are being developed or have been developed for the space programme and have found their way into regular use here on earth, and they're just a few of the things that have come out of the space programme.

But there are still major obstacles.

Obstacles or opportunities?


Let's face it, our world is full of people who either see things as an obstacle to be beaten or an opportunity to be exploited, and at the moment we have one major obstacle to deal with, and that's how long it will take to get us there.

Mars is 50,000,000 miles away

With today's technology, and the fastest spacecraft we can build it would take us about eight months to get there, that's eight months in microgravity, playing havoc with the human body.

Thirty years or more of experiments in low earth orbit has shown us what this does to the human body, muscle atrophy, bone density loss and the like, but it's also given us vital methods of helping compensate for this, it would be better though if the flights were shorter, and that's what SpaceX, Blue Origin and Boeing have been working on.

They all believe that the next generation of spacecraft will get us there in three to four months.

Can we get there? Yes, we can.

Should we go? Absolutely!


Comments

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    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Denise

      That's a very good thought, we have messed things up here, but it's often been the 'green' solution that did it.

      Back in the 1880s Horses were seen as messing up the streets and causing pollution with their manure in the main cities, the Motor car was actually seen as the 'green' solution to the pollution problem of that time.

      A big one that the world is only just waking up to is actually Solar power, in particular, solar panels and the fact that dangerous chemicals are used in their manufacture that means they can't actually be recycled!

      Electric cars use materials like Cobalt and the like to make their batteries that are made in the most horrendous conditions. Tesla is being sued at the moment along with HP and Apple for using child labour (Yes I would still love a Tesla Model 3)

      Over on Mars, we aren't going to have the luxury of being wasteful, things will have to have multiple uses and be recyclable.

      The future is going to be exciting, but at the same time, we are going to need people to be informed and keep those in power accountable for the decisions they make.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      MG Singh

      Glad I reminded you of that awesome SF novel, but I think we'll get there much earlier than you think.

      Today we have submarines that can stay submerged for six months, we have a space station in orbit that creates enough oxygen for Astronauts to live indefinatley there with only the filters needing to be changed, we have also made synthetic filters that actually make oxygen like leaves do.

      And the first robotic missions to build habitats for Humans on Mars are due to be launched in 2022 withmanned missions dtarting around 2024-5.

      Yesterday's science fiction is today's science fact.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      William.

      Thank you, sorry I havent replied sooner.

      I enjoyed researching this hub, and have a few surprises coming next year regarding this series.

      White Island was actually in the novels (in the second one).

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      It was the generations that went before us that got us to the place where we could start to explore the heavens.

      Our generation had a wild ride getting humanity this far, but we can watch and imagine what it will be like for those next explorers as they venture out.

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      4 weeks ago from Singapore

      Going to Mars is a good fantasy. I love the idea but it may take place after at least 1000 years but then in the rarefied atmosphere there how will humans survive.? Fantasy apart, the earth will remain the abode of man as we understand, unless there is another planet with similar properties like earth somewhere in the universe.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Given the things we have done to this planet, I don't assume we will do any better elsewhere, however it is intriguing a thought.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      MsDora

      It will be dangerous going to Mars, but the excitement of such a great venture and the joy of exploring somewhere that no human has set foot previously will outweigh the dangers.

      At the moment we are working through all the dangers that we know about and seeking to minimise them, and in doing so we're developing new technologies for use here on Earth that will make life here on Earth that much better.

      Spacecraft that can take a passenger to the other side of the planet within an hour (New York to Auckland in 45 minutes) and the like. Exoskeletons for use in space that will be adapted so that the paralysed can walk again (not far away) and things like this make it all worthwhile.

      Meanwhile, we're thrilled at the possibility of exploring a strange new world.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Nikki

      Thank you, sorry it's taken so long to reply but I really enjoyed putting this one together.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      5 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Lori

      Glad you enjoyed it (sorry its taken so long to reply). I enjoyed putting this one together.

      Lawrence

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      5 weeks ago from Singapore

      Reminds me of HG wells "Time Machine"

      That may be one method of reaching there.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      First of all, I'm glad you're safe. Secondly, your articles are fascinating, to say the least. Glad you keep them coming!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I don't think I'm going to make that trip, but it's fun and interesting to read about it. :) Thanks for the info...always something new can be learned through your articles.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Emge

      All the things I've mentioned here are what we can do right now, with today's technology.

      The biggest hurdle at the moment is getting the machines to the planet as our largest rockets (at the moment) can only send about a hundred tons to a Mars orbit.

      Reusing the rockets and refuelling in space means we can boist biiger payloads into orbit where the craft are refuelled and sent on their way qhile the massive boosters are used to get the next lot ready quicker and cheaper than ever before.

      Having both India and China also capable of doing this is also keeping the other players honest and 'on their toes'

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Enjoying these lessons about the possibility of living on Mars. You lessen the fear of such a venture.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      What you say is interesting to say the least.

      Actually the plan is "Why carry what you don't need, especially when you can send a machine ahead that can extract the fuel from your destination?"

      Robotic missions will take much of what the Astronauts will need and construct much of the settlement before humans arrive. This is planned to start about 2021-2 with humans arriving around 2024.

      They're not cutting corners to make a buck, but looking for the most efficient way to do things.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      6 weeks ago from London

      Oh wow!

      Incredible research on Mars mission, Lawerance.

      I am impressed with. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      You've certainly done your homework. Fascinating.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Nikki

      You're right about the dangers and rewards, they're both great.

      One way that both NASA and SpaceX are seeking to change things is by sending unmanned robot missions to build the Habitats first. They are planned to start in 2021.

      SpaceX is building the first 'Starship' that can carry upto 100 people all the way to Mars, using reusable rockets to boost it clear of Earth gravity they reckon they can cut costs to 1% of present costs (cost of a launch down to $5 million instead of $500 million!)

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh 

      6 weeks ago from Singapore

      This is certainly in the realm of possibility. But it is still a few hundred years away. It's a very interesting hub.

    • lawrence01 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lawrence Hebb 

      6 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      John

      Glad you liked the hub. I was watching a YouTube update on where Elon Musk is at with developing the spaceship SpaceX wants to use to take us to Mars, I didn't realise that they're actually building full-scale prototypes right now.

      These spacecraft will be able to take a hundred people! They're no longer the things of science fiction, they're being built right now, and it's a private enterprise that's paying for it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I know these guys. As professional that are doing 5 years or more in prison. Hmm let us just. These guys are executive type bad guys. First let us shoot the fuel for getting back. Let us train them while in incarceration. Just tossing that out there.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      6 weeks ago from London

      Mars has got so many resources to explore yet. But still, the dangers to rehabilitate on a new planet are far higher than the chances of likelihood on it.

      A great hub to tell us about Mars and restoration of life on it, Lawrence.

      I have got your novel in my Kindle Download as I am finishing my other reads, for now, this week. Would start it next week or so. Looks like a thrilling ride through the island. Interesting Edition!

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Another enthralling episode of Spaceship Earth. Mars does have infinite possibilities, especially in regard to mining resources. I am sure there will be adventurous people willing to relocate there especially if the time taken to get there is reduced by half. Thanks for sharing Lawrence.

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