Thursday, April 7, 2016

Will we ever colonize Mars?

Out of all the planets we have discovered so far, Mars always gains the most attention. Why is that? In part, it may be because Mars is seen as the one planet that is possible for the human race to inhabit. Some people also wonder why we might become so desperate to go live on Mars when Earth is already comfortable. Well, Mars would be our backup plan if Earth were to ever collapse due to situations such as climate change. There is also the option of trying to search for extra water during droughts on Earth, and look for extra metal and croplands to bring extra food back.

In order to explore more, NASA is putting together a manned-mission to Mars. It finds value in this exploration, as Mars is a possible new home for the human race and we can possibly obtain valuable resources such as water ice from under the surface. Furthermore, it believes that we might be able to learn more about the history of Earth by learning about Mars, and we might be able to determine if life exists somewhere in the solar system. Even though there is an endless list of what we can learn about Mars and the possibilities of future life there, we must consider the actual conditions of the planet and whether the human race would really be able to survive in those conditions.

Humans can currently survive on Earth because we have an atmosphere with oxygen. However, Mars’ atmosphere is very thin and has an atmospheric pressure lower than that of Earth’s. Also, most of Mars’ atmosphere mainly has carbon dioxide and the thin atmosphere would not be able to keep harmful cosmic radiation from reaching Mars’ surface. Mars also has very cold temperatures that average at about negative fifty degrees Celsius, with winters even being colder than that. Moreover, there are dust storms that can cause some danger to humans.

In the end, will humans ever be able to colonize Mars? Scientists are currently and continuously looking for ways humans may inhabit the planet. For example, in 2004, astronomers and Dr. Todd Clancy, the head of the research team at the Space Science Institute, found hydrogen peroxide in Mars’ atmosphere. They were able to detect this because of the 2003 opposition of Mars, where Earth and Mars were closest together in their orbit around the sun. Since hydrogen peroxide is used as an antiseptic on Earth, it would “retard any biological activity on the surface on Mars.” By taking into account discoveries like this one, we humans may have a chance of colonizing Mars one day.

- Minami Makino