Colonizing Mars: What You Need To Build A Mars Colony

Posted: Mar 15 2017, 6:12am CDT | by , Updated: Mar 15 2017, 7:05am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 

Colonizing Mars
 

Living on Mars may still seem like a dream to many people but it is not far from becoming reality. NASA just revealed it has already completed the initial phases of its "Journey to Mars" mission, with a goal of colonizing the red planet.

NASA trained astronauts Scott Kelly from the United States and Mikhail Kornienko from Russia for one year on the International Space Station. The final goal is to send human to live on Mars by 2030s. 

Obstacles in Colonizing Mars 

Not everyone is in agreement when it comes to colonizing Mars. Some scientists argue humans are not readily equipped to be able to colonize Mars. Recently a paper published in the journal Space Policy argued all the points not in favor of colonizing on Mars.

According to the paper living on mars consists of various factors and setting a fully established colony is virtually impossible to set up right now. Training on Earth is actually quite different from actually living on Mars.

Konrad Szocik from the University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszow, Poland, who is the lead authorof the study states Earth-based training, is equitably limited.

The exact replication of the physical and environmental conditions of the environment on Mars is not possible. Most importantly the micro-gravitation and radiation exposure present on mars cannot be replicated on Earth and it can have severe consequences for the inhabitants of the colony. 

Expense of Colonizing Mars

Another huge aspect of colonizing Mars is its expense. Living on mars even in the initial stages will require billions or maybe even trillions of dollars. Billions will simply go into research for years and the smartest minds on planet earth will have to be employed for the purpose.

Advanced technologies by only the best scientists and engineers in the world will produce the equipment necessary. Some of the necessary equipment required for only the journey includes advanced spacecraft, rocket propulsion, deep-space life-support systems and high-speed communications. Similarly after landing on Mars, a vast range of other equipment will be necessary for survival.

According to planetary scientist Phil Metzger, co-founder of NASA Kennedy Space Center's Swamp Works, taking high tech to mars is also not an option. Living on Mars will require appropriate technology which utilizes the local resources and labor, which in itself is a challenge. 

Water on Mars

The pace for colonizing Mars may have been accelerated particularly after scientists found indications there could be an abundant supply of water on Mars. According to the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, beneath the cracked and pitted plains on Mars abundant amount of frozen water may be lying.

The amount of water may be as much as present in Lake Superior, which is the largest of the Great Lakes. The water deposit may even be more extensive than the state of New Mexico. The composition of the deposit is believed to be 50 to 85 percent water ice mixed with dirt and other particles.

Earlier Than 2030s

While NASA is aiming to send mission by 2030s, some believe the mission can happen a lot sooner than later. According to Tony Antonelli, a former NASA space shuttle pilot, a small mission to Mars is possible in just 10 to 12 years. All that’s required is to decide when the mission is to take place. Antonelli is also head of the advanced civil space programs for the company Lockheed Martin.

The company is proposing a new concept where they can send a crew to Mars for a small three year trip in just a decade. The small mission will have to be approved by a number of participants like government, industry, international participation etc. Antonelli also declared the concept mission as a "Mars base camp."

Mars Impact on Human Physiology

Suppose we do reach Mars and successfully colonize it, but even after taming the harsh environment will humans be completely risk free on the red planet. Konrad Szocik, who is also a cognitive scientist, states surviving on mars will require humans to alter their mind and body chemistry. According to Szocik, NASA will require devices to enhance the senses and drugs to dull panic in humans living on Mars. Other factors of human responses may also be required to be monitored while living on Mars. 

That’s not all. According to evolutionary biologist Scott Soloman, humans who live on Mars for the long term will have to face rapid evolutionary changes. In short the unique environment of Mars could lead to the creation of a whole new species. The climate on the red planet may cause a darkening of the skin through carotenoid pigments due to diet staples like squash and carrots, which can be grown on Mars. The density will also increase to deal with the zero-gravity situation on Mars. Although on earth such changes would have required millions of years to occur on Earth, on Mars the radiation could lead to rapid changes in about 6,000 years. 

Microorganism on Mars

When and if humans do colonize Mars, should they expect no life form to be present on mars? Recently researchers at the University of Arkansas, implied life in the form of microorganisms may still be present on Mars. Living organisms in the form of ancient simple organisms called methanogens, may have survived the harsh conditions on Mars. Therefore such organisms may be present deep in the soil of Mars. Scientists came up with the assessment after they tested rocks from mars for the presence of methane which is a by-product of these microorganisms and found readily in the Martian atmosphere. 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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