Colonization of Mars

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An artist's conception of the colonization of Mars, with a cutaway showing part of the interior

The colonization of Mars by humans is an ongoing debate among scientists. They want to colonize the planet Mars. Satellite imagery shows that there is frozen ground water on the planet. That makes Mars the best choice for a thriving colony off the Earth. The Moon has been proposed as the first location for human colonization. However, Mars has a thin atmosphere. Because of this, it has potential to host humans and other organic life. There are many factors humans on Mars will go through, such as the risks in landing on the planet within gravity wells.

Many organizations support the colonization of Mars. They have also given different reasons and ways humans can live on Mars. One of the oldest organizations is the Mars Society. They promote a NASA program that supports human colonies on Mars. The Mars Society have set up Mars analog research stations in Canada and the United States. All other organizations include MarsDrive, who wants to help fund settlements on Mars, and Mars to Stay. Mars to Stay advocates settlements on Mars. In June 2012, Mars One released a statement that they believe could help start a colony on Mars by 2023.

Earth and Mars[change | change source]

The Earth is much like its "sister plant" Venus.

Differences from Earth[change | change source]

The surface gravity on Mars is 38% of that on Earth. It is unknown if this is enough to prevent weightlessness.[2] Mars is much colder than Earth. Mars surface temperature is −63 °C and a low of −140 °C. The lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C, in Antarctica. There is no liquid water on the surface of Mars. Because Mars is further from the Sun, it takes longer for solar energy to reach the upper atmosphere of Mars. Mars' orbit is more eccentric than Earth's. The atmospheric pressure on Mars is ~6 mbar. This is far below the Armstrong Limit (61.8 mbar) at which people cannot survive without pressure suits. Since terraforming cannot be expected within the century, humans must have their pressure suits between a third and a whole bar. Mars' atmosphere has carbon dioxide. Mars has a very weak magnetosphere. This means that it does not do a good job getting rid of solar winds.

Habitability[change | change source]

An artist's conception of a terraformed Mars (2009)

Conditions on the surface of Mars are much closer to habitability than the surface of any other known planets or moons. Other planets such as Mercury has extreme hot and cold temperatures. Venus is very hot and all other planets and moons are very cold. There are some natural places on Earth, where humans have explored, that is similar to the conditions on Mars. The highest altitude reached by a balloon that was carrying humans, was 34,668 meters (113,740 feet), a record set in May 1961.[3] The pressure at that altitude is about the same as on the surface of Mars.[4] Extreme cold in the Arctic and Antarctic match all but the most extreme temperatures on Mars.

It may be possible to terraform Mars to allow a wide variety of living things.[5] In April 2012, it was reported that lichen and bacteria survived. They also showed adaptation and had done photosynthesis during the 34 days in Mars.[6][7][8] This mission was maintained by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). On Earth, bacteria are about 80% of the biomass.[8]

In fiction[change | change source]

Many publications have wrote ideas and concerns about a possible human colony on the planet Mars. They include:

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

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