We all dream about space traveling and colonizing another planet to be intergalactic but the could actually become true as some space agencies around the world are working just on that and the planet everyone is looking at is Mars, right in our backyard, so let’s see how colonizing Mars would be possible.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in our Solar System, being only larger than Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Roman God of War and is often reffered to as the Red Planet.
Some scientists proposed lot’s of ways to terraform Mars and some of the ideas also include to Nuke the Red Planet.
Terraforming of Mars is a hypothetical procedure that would consist of planetary engineering project or concurrent projects, with the goal of transforming the planet from one hostile to terrestrial life to ona that can sustainably host humans and other lifeforms free of protection or medication. The process would presumably involve the rehabilitation of the planet’s extant climate, atmosphere and surface through a variety of resource-intensive initiatives, and the installation of a novel ecological system of systems.
Science fiction writers have long featured terraforming, the process of creating an Earth-like or habitable environment on another planet, in theri stories. Scientists themselves have proposed terraforming to enable the long-term colonization of Mars. A solution common to both groups is to release carbon dioxide gas trapped in tha Martian surface to thicken the atmosphere and act as a blanket to warm the planet.
However, Mars does not retain enough carbon dioxide that could practically be put back into the atmosphere to warm Mars, according to new NASA-sponsored study. Terraforming the inhospitable Martian environment into a place astronauts could explore whithout life support is not possible without technology well beyond today’s capabilities.
Knowing that terraforming Mars it is not possible with our current technology, let’s look at some other ways that we could colonize the Red Planet.
Elon Musk and SpaceX have proposed the development of Mars transportation infrastructure in order to facilitate the eventual colonization of Mars. The mission architecture includes fully reusable launch vehicles, human-rated spacecraft, on-orbit propellant tankers, rapid-turnaround laungh/landing mounts and local production of rocket fuel on Mars by 2024.
A key element of the infrastructure is planned to be the SpaceX Starship, a fully reusable space vehicle under develpment since 2018. To achieve a large payload, the spacecraft would first enter Earth orbit, where is expected to be refueled before it departs to Mars. After landing on Mars, the spacecraft would be loaded with locally-produced propellants to return to Earth. The expected payload for the Starship/Super Heavy is to inject between 100-150 tonnes to Mars.
As NASA works towards its long-term goal of establishing a human-settlement on Mars, SpaceX is fleshing out its plans to help NASA make that dream a reality.
Before Starship can launch to Mars, it will start off launching commercial satellites as early as 2021, followed by a crewed flight around the Moon in 2023. Although SpaceX has not given a timeline for its first missions to Mars, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said that the first Mars base could be up and running in 2028. And while Musk shared some eye-catching artist illustrations depicting what he called ” Mars Base Alpha ” as an intricate network of buildings and infrastructure, SpaceX’s plans for the Red Planet are not quite that extensive.
Mars Base Alpha is the code name given to the proposed first human base on Mars by SpaceX CEO and lead designer Elon Musk. It can be argued if SpaceX will be in a position to have the naming rights for the first human base on Mars and even if it will is SpaceX intended to keep the name.
The establishment of Mars Base Alpha will be enabled with development of SpaceX Starship Super Heavy, capable to bring large quantity of cargo and passengers to the surface of Mars. First there will be sent at least two cargo Starships to separate locations to confirm the best place for a sustainable human base. The landing base should be located in low elevation at less than 40 degrees latitude for best solar power production, relatively warm temperature and critically, it must be near a massive sub-surface water ice deposit.
There are four regions considered by SpaceX for the landing site:
- Deuteronilus Mensae
- Phalegra Montes
- Utopia Planitia
- Southern Arcadia Planitia
With the later one being the most promising. On August 2019 it was found SpaceX is evaluating 5 candidate sites on the border between Amazonis Planitia and Arcadia Planitia.
A second option to colonizing Mars, would be the use of the lava tunnels which are volcanic caverns on Mars that are believed to form as a result of fast-moving, basaltic lava flows associated with shield volcanism.Lava tubes usually form when the external surface of lava channels cools more quicklu and forms a hardened crust over the subsurface lava flows.
According to some scientists, astronauts could live in the lava tubes on Mars.
Scientists have long wondered how we might live in other atmospheres. On Mars, at least, the answer could be a network of large underground tunnels from millennia of high-intensity volcanism. These lava tubes, as they’re known, remain after fast-flowing lava burns through the ground on Mars. On Earth, they would be much smaller or crushed by gravity.
How can you tell if the lava tubes of Mars can protect astronauts? That’s complicated. Astrophysicist and combat veteran Antonio Paris has led the research from inception until publication and followup. He’s previously made the news as a U.S. Army intelligence officer and ufologist, and his paper on lava tubes appeared in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Science.
Scientists, also have considered the use of aerogel, which is a synthetic porous ultralight material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component for the gel has been replaced with a gas.
The result is a solid with extremely low density and extremely low thermal conductivity. Nicknames include frozen smoke, solid smoke, solid air, solid cloud, blue smoke owing to its translucent nature and the way light scatters in the material. Sillica aerogels feel like fragile expanded polystyrene to the touch, while some polymer-based aerogels feel like rigid foams. Aerogels can be made from a variety of chemical compounds.
In a new paper in Nature Astronomy, researchers propose that a material called aerogel might help humans one day build greenhouses and other habitats at Mars’ mid-latitudes, where near-surface water ice has been identified. The study was founded by Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Science.
In an experiment conducted by lead author Robin Wordsworth of Harvard, 2-3 centimeters of silica aerogel light from a lamp tuned to simulate Martian sunlight toheat the surface beneath it by up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to raise temperatures on the Martian surface and melt water ice.
Mars is not an easy planet to colonize, considering the technology that we have today, we will not make it, but in a few year we will be able to travel and set our first base on Mars.