Mankind has always reached for the “stars” and the moon and its now Mars. The stars are exploding balls of gas like the sun and cannot be landed on. Man went to the moon in 1969, and from that mission has learned how to live in space for a short time successfully. Colonizing Mars is possible in the near future due to scientists understanding of life in space, technological advances and affordable expenses.
Mars is an ideal planet to establish a colony. Its location, temperature and availability of water makes this planet scientists first choice to inhabit (Orwig 2). Earth is not immune from natural disasters (Orwig 2). 165 million years ago, an asteroid hit the Earth and caused such pollution that the dinosaurs became extinct (Orwig 2). This proves how vulnerable we are to mass extinction in the future. Even if new technology fails in the quest for Mars, it might be useful in other areas (Orwig 3). NASA launched the Hubble telescope into space to send back clearer pictures of the space (Orwig 3). Unfortunately, the pictures received were blurry, however, another scientist was able to use the corrected math solution for the Hubble telescope in todays X-ray machines. The result was a better image to detect breast cancer (Orwig 3). Man has always been driven to understand this universe more fully and that is why they explore new areas.
Humans tend to move and establish communities, town and cities. NASA believes the mission to Mars is comparable to the early pioneers of American or to landing on the moon (Knapton 2). Both were great accomplishments of mankind. Just like the early explorers purpose of travel was to establish a colony, it is the same for Mars (Knapton 2). The early explores sent out scouts and they reported back their findings to see if a colony could or should be establish. NASA has been sending probes and robots to Mars for the last 40 years (Knapton 4). These probes have discovered salt water and ancient lakes (Knapton 4). NASA will continue to send probes and robots to learn more about the possibility of life either past, present or future on Mars (Knapton 4).
If the fastest probe to date, traveled in a straight line it would take 162 days to reach Mars (Redd 4). It would have travelled 33.9 million miles or 54.6 million kilometer (Redd 3). Scientists base these numbers on the arrival time not the launch time (Redd 5). Since the planets are always moving towards and away from the sun at different times these calculation also change constantly. Another huge challenge is the financial aspect to colonize Mars.
Elon Musk was speaking to the International Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2016 (Glaser 1). He expressed his plans as to how to finance the colonization of Mars (Glaser 3). One problem was to convince the US Government to help finance it (Glaser 3). The public could argue that these funds would be better used to feed the poor, improve schools or communities than sending people to Mars. Musk summarized that the first 12 astronauts would cost 12 billion dollars (Glaser 3). However, if one million people signed up the cost would drop to $200,000 per person (Glaser 3). There are seven billion people on earth so finding one million people to pay for a trip of a lifetime is reasonable. How to support life, shelter and return to earth are other factors that were also addressed (Ghose 7). The International Space Station has taught us many things about survival in space. Using this knowledge we have a better understanding of the needs required for survival and how to do it (Ghose 7). The key to life on Mars is he availability of water.
Mars has ice water under its soil and therefore, can support life. With the use of technology, we can use a water extractor to heat the soil and collect the condensed water (Will 1). Storage units that hold 1500 liters of water per person would be built for daily needs. Oxygen can be split from the water and turned into breathable air. Mars’s air carbon dioxide, light, water and added nutrients can be used to grow food in hydroponics (Will 2). It is not feasible to continually transport supplies from Earth to Mars for the inhabitants.
Many trips must first be taken to Mars in unmanned ships to drop off food, shelter and building supplies and also establish a reliable power source before man can stay on Mars (Maclver 2). NASA building plans will resemble a trailer park of interconnected buildings (Maclver 2). The structures would include; housing units, storage units for food, and life support supplies, recreational spaces and other necessities for survival (Maclver 2). In order to build these modules robots would be used to establish the shelters before mans’ arrival.
Three robots have already been developed for use on Mars: Axle rovers, MMSEV and the Robonauts (Maclver 3). The main problem with these robots is communication (Maclver 6). To send a command from Earth to the robot on Mars is a 20-minute delay (Maclver 6). The Axel robot has independent wheels so its use would be to collect rock and water for analysis (Maclver 3). The MMSEV robot has a cabin feature attached, so no space suit is required (Maclver 4). The problem with the space suit is that is takes hours to put on and adjust the pressure to be in Mars’ atmosphere (Maclver 4). Without the space suit the astronaut could take many trips outside the compound during the day (Maclver 4). The Robonaut resemble a human and would be used to set up the compound before humans arrive on Mars (Maclver 5). These robots would be indispensible to us surviving on Mars.
SpaceX’s mission to Mars is not a one trip (Wall 3). The company would use solar power for electricity (Wall 3). Solar power would also be combined with carbon dioxide and water to make methane gas to power the rockets to return to earth (Wall 3). All of this technology has been invented and would have more improvements in time.
Colonization of Mars can and could be reached in our lifetime. Our technology has advanced to make living on Mars possible. If the US or other governments fund the initial cost, individual donors can pay for subsequent flights. Our survival as a race might be depended on colonizing another planet against catastrophic natural disasters here on Earth. Once a Mars colony is establish, perhaps a new culture will emerge to better enhance our own society with new discoveries. Lets go the Mars!!