Being the second smallest planet in the solar system and named after the Roman god of war, Mars is considered to be a desolate, frigid and inhospitable rock whose colonization is one of the biggest challenges in our century.
Curious to know why it is so hard to colonize Mars? Keep Watching!
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Mars exploration and colonization have been a fantasy and a really hard challenge for Humans in the current century. However, we are working to make this dream a reality where NASA is planning to put humans on Mars by the end of 2030. One of the biggest challenges is transporting astronauts and payload across the 34 million miles of space that exists between Mars and Earth, however, upon their arrival; humans will have to face many other challenges during the course of their mission. For instance, they will have to find solutions for life threatening problems such as the lack of water, thin atmosphere, the high levels of radiation, toxic soil, cold temperatures and low gravity. In this video, we’ll talk about each factor of these serious problems in detail.
1- Lack of Water, As we all know, water is the most important and essential factor when it comes to the lives of humans and their survival. However, Mars does not contain water or at least it does not contain water in a form suitable for human usage. There were signs of water on the red planet illustrated in some images sent by The Mariner 9 and Viking space probes back to the 1970s. Moreover, in 2018, a study was published in the science journal reporting that an approximately 12 miles in width lack; had been found and it’s located about a mile below the south pole of Mars. Additionally, scientists had found eight regions on Mars where soil erosion had uncovered huge areas of ice deposits below the Martian surface. In 2019, the American Geophysical Union reported that they located layers of ice and sand buried a mile beneath Mars’s north pole. All of this information demonstrates that Mars does contain water on its surface, however, the technology required to extract this embedded water is not available to us, Yet. NASA is working on this problem through forming partnerships in order to advance their mining technologies for use in space exploration. The results of these partnerships are very promising where in July 2019, along with Honeybee Robotics and the University of Central Florida, NASA showed off a prototype spacecraft that is called “The World Is Not Enough” or WINE, for short, it is a prototype of the size of a microwave oven specifically designed to mine soil on asteroids, extract water from this soil and then use it to generate steam in order to propel itself to its next mining destination. It’s a truly promising technology but it can be adapted to harvest water for Mars exploration.
2- Thin Atmosphere, an atmosphere is one of the most important factors that a planet must acquire in order to support human life and survival. However, Mars’s atmosphere is very thin and it’s made up of all the wrong combinations of gases. For example, it’s mostly composed of carbon dioxide, approximately 95.3% of Mars’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide which is a very high ratio compared to less than 1% on Earth. Moreover, Mars’s atmosphere has barely any oxygen, around 0.13% compared to 21% on Earth, which is very unfortunate due to the fact that humans need oxygen to breath. In addition to this, Mars’s atmosphere contains a very small ratio of nitrogen, around 2.7% compared to 78% on Earth which is also very unfortunate due to the fact that plants need nitrogen to survive.
Besides the wrong combinations of gases in Mars’s atmosphere, the atmospheric pressure is unfortunately quite low , around 6.1 millibars compared to 1,013.25 millibars on Earth.
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Credits: Ron Miller
Credits: Nasa/Shutterstock/Storyblocks/Elon Musk/SpaceX/ESA
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