Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is what life on Mars will be like

It won’t be too long before we’re sending people on their way to the Red Planet. Jack Flanagan explains what life on Mars would be like.


There are people willing to put billions of dollars into putting people on Mars. Entrepreneur and billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX program has been considering the idea for some time, and some related organisations have gone public with their intentions, such as Mars One, a non-profit seeking to establish a colony by 2022. They intend to put a group of chosen applicants through 7 years of rigorous training, and will to fund it as a “global media event” – a.k.a., reality television.

These programs are called “Mars to Stay” missions, and there’s a sensible reason behind wanting to colonise Mars before attempting a return mission. We do not have technology to land humans on Mars and get them back again. However, we can load a spacecraft with the equipment needed to live there. Mars to Stay advocates say that, given the need to colonise Mars someday, why not just rip off the bandaid?

These people aren’t mere daydreamers: high-profile cosmologists and engineers, as well as Buzz Aldrin, fiercely advocate that we ought to colonise Mars as soon as we can.

Colonisation strategies vary. There are, broadly, two options. The first is creating an artificial environment which protects humans from the planet’s inhospitable surface. If we were to colonise Mars in the next few years, this is our only option, as the second option – terraforming – could only happen in the long-term.

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