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The main focus of possible human colonization on any planet, is mars. The surface conditions on mars and its atmosphere, make it seem more habitable than any other planet in the solar system, besides earth. There are many reasons why mars would need to be colonized, but is it a viable option? Many technological advancements are needed to sustain life on mars, as well as traveling to mars, these advancements could help with human stability and the growth of needed materials to survive.
Many people suggest that humans should be more focused on saving the quality of earth, rather than focusing on colonizing a different planet. Colonizing mars has many benefits that will contribute to the quality of earth, such as; technological innovation, scientific value and discovery, and making humans multiplanetary species. All of these reasons will contribute to the innovation and feed curiosity to earth’s population.
One of the biggest problems with space travel and colonization on mars is if humans will be able to survive the atmosphere outside of earth.
There are many differences from earth’s atmosphere to mars atmosphere. The climate of mars has evolved from a once thick atmosphere that possibly inhabited many different bodies of water, to an atmosphere that has thinned out from its vulnerability to pressure from the solar wind.
A permanent part of Mars’s atmosphere is the dust on the ground, which cause large dust storms that can last for weeks at a time and blanket the entire planet, but Michael Smith from NASA says that “It is unlikely that even these dust storms could strand an astronaut on Mars, however.
Even the wind in the largest dust storms likely could not tip or rip apart major mechanical equipment. The winds in the strongest Martian storms top out at about 60 miles per hour, less than half the speed of some hurricane-force winds on Earth.” This analysis proves that the biggest problem resulting from dust storms isn’t the wind or the blanketed dust because humans and materials have sustained that type of weather before. However, there is a problem concerning the dust particles and how the stick to the surfaces of solar panels and many other materials.
Mars is lacking an ozone layer, which is essential to the shielding of ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet radiation can cause major harm on humans, because the exposure can suppress the skin’s immune system, which makes the body more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. There isn’t any good information about how much ultraviolet radiation reaches mars surface, but since the ozone layer is exempt humans are more vulnerable to even the smallest amount of radiation.
Mars temperature is much cooler than earth’s because of the greater distance it is away from the sun. The average temperature is around negative 80 degrees fahrenheit, which is over 100 degrees cooler than earth’s average temperature. The overall atmosphere of mars in about 100 times thinner than earth’s atmosphere, but it is thick enough that it contains certain types weather patterns.
Mars weather patterns and differing atmospheric and thermal pressures can be harmful to humans if they don’t have the right protection. Even though the difference between mars and earth’s atmosphere’s are so big, it is still viable enough to send humans.
Advancements in technology need to be made in a lot of different aspects to make the colonization of mars possible. Creating certain technologies can contribute to every part of the colonization process. Because a lot of the technology is either under developed or not even created yet, many people believe that colonization is just a fantasy.
NASA is developing 40 new technologies for it’s mars mission. Getting the astronauts to mars will be a tough journey. In order for the astronauts to safely land on mars, there is a lot of technological advancements needing to be made. NASA is attempting to create all of these new and advanced technologies by a 2033 deadline.
The Satellite propellant transfer is a robotic refueling spacecraft in space, which would fix the problem of spacecrafts having to retrieve propellant from the ground and use up its energy, by carrying it out. This technology could eventually be applied to robotically fill up satellites before they launch, which would keep humans safe distances from the from such a hazardous operation.
Advanced structures and materials are needed to carry out the mission to mars. Scientists are trying to make a heavy-lift rocket system out of lightweight materials. Many of these materials haven’t been invented yet, but scientists say that “they’ll need to be if NASA and the rest of the world want to make trips to mars, more than one and done.”
In order to make deep space travel sustainable scientists need to begin using compounds that can more easily be manufactured in space. Examples of propellants that could possibly be used are liquid oxygen and methane because they are easier to make using materials from asteroids and other planets.
These technologies are just a few examples out of many new technologies needing to be created. Although reaching the 2033 deadline will be a hard and mentally straining task, it will boost innovation and possibly create technologies that can help benefit earth as well.
Hauling materials from earth to mars can be costly and a waste of resources. Launching a kilogram of material from earth to mars costs about $4,000, so trying to ship tons of heavy materials could be financially and logically difficult. Using the materials already on mars to build shelters would be the solution to long hauling materials to the planet. The main material on mars is a rock layer that is deposited through the solar system over billions of years by asteroid collision. Many researches have already found that they can turn the dirt of mars into many different sturdy materials.
The soil on mars actually contains the right nutrients for plants to survive on mars. Depending on where the astronauts land on mars there might not be the right amounts of nutrients, so fertilizers might need to be added to the soil. NASA is trying to develop a replication of mars soil, to better understand how it can be used for growing plants and its other purposes.
Space exploration this far has produced scientific and technological innovations that benefits many people around the world. Sending humans and materials throughout space presents many challenges that can only be overcome by innovative minds. This leads to new knowledge and many new technological inventions that can be used to benefit earth in many ways. The success of space exploration in general has been impressive and continues to drive innovation.
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