Mars: An interesting examination on why we can or cannot live on the Red Planet.


Can we live on Mars?

Mars is not as close to Earth as Venus is, but it probably is the only planet in our solar system that we can colonize. But living there won’t be simple.

Mars is poorly suited for human habitation. There’s some ice at the poles and perhaps some water in underground repositories. Gravity is only 38 percent as strong as on Earth. The atmosphere is thin and consists mostly of carbon dioxide (95%). So colonists would have to either take air from Earth or make air on Mars. Plants efficiently separate the oxygen bound to carbon and therefore can make air we can breathe, so colonists should take plants along.

The Martian atmosphere is too thin to hold oxygen, which would just escape to space. So the plants would have to be cultivated in greenhouses and the oxygen they produce kept in flasks.

Mars has a very weak magnetic field, and its atmosphere offers little protection against radiation from space. So the Martian colonists would have to build radiation protection into their houses and wear thick suits. Unlike Earth, where most incoming meteorites burn up in the atmosphere, many meteorites crash dangerously onto the surface of Mars.

The Martian weather is awful. It’s cold: the average temperature of the southern hemisphere is minus 60 degrees Celsius; even at the equator, it’s seldom over zero. Winds are fierce and blow at speeds of several hundred kilometres an hour, and storms can last for months. The wind whirls up fine dust that penetrates everything and sticks to all surfaces, which literally would toss sand in the gears of vital mechanical and electronic equipment.

Today, there are no concrete, approved plans for sending people to Mars. The earliest date mentioned in official papers is 2019, which would be 50 years after the first Moon landing.

photo from: novacelestia.com 
TFA Team


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