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The Prospects Of Space Colonization


Numerous reasons are forcing us to extend our habitat beyond Earth's borders. Our planet is overpopulated, with resources that are not only limited but diminishing over time (drinking water, fossil fuels, fertile land, habitable areas). Some of these resources can be found somewhere in the solar system, which gives our efforts to reach the star's strong economic support.

Also, the environmental aspect is not negligible: it would be healthier for us mortals to have steel plants, and mines on Mars or the Moon than on Earth.

Closer to the end, our star gets bigger, warmer, and brighter every day. In just under a billion years, the Earth will overheat and life on it will no longer be possible.

Space colonization is probably inevitable:

But where to go? When the imagination takes us away, we often forget how dangerous and essentially inhospitable the solar system is. Our first neighbor, the Moon, is very poor in materials that would benefit future colonists.

Although a significant amount of ice has recently been detected in a hidden crater in the shadows near the poles, large temperature differences during the day and night make our satellite a second-rate destination. The Moon is not much different in this respect from Mercury, which is equally inhospitable because of its proximity to the sun and the hellish solar wind.

When the time comes to take the first step in space colonization, it is almost certain that it will happen on Mars. In many respects, Mars resembles Earth: a day on it lasts almost the same as on Earth, and due to the inclination of the rotation axis Mars has seasons that alternate regularly. And most importantly, Mars has huge reserves of water in the form of ice deposits at the poles or relatively low depth below the surface.

Today, for example, no one knows what long-lasting effects it could have on the human body due to reduced Mars gravity, three times weaker than Earth's. All research to date has been limited to weightlessness.

There is no running water on Mars, the soil is barren and unsuitable for even the most resistant and extreme living organisms on Earth.

The temperature is very low, while the sun's radiation is much more intense than on Earth. The Martian atmosphere is very rare and is almost entirely made up of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide pressure is higher on Mars than on Earth, so the Martian atmosphere is extremely toxic to both plants and humans. And finally, Mars receives far less sunlight than Earth does.

What awaits astronauts on Mars?

First of all, the habitat must be absolutely isolated from the outside world with a closed system of production and recycling of food, water, and oxygen. Mars has little to offer the settlers: except water reserves, there is only solar energy, whose exploitation is not easy because of the constant winds full of dust that can circumnavigate the entire planet for several weeks.

There is a real hope that the development of space technology by 2030 will lead to new solutions and enable the first humans to visit Mars to return to Earth. If someone then decides to become a Martian, they will have an idea of what awaits him. This includes the possibility if on the spot realizes that he made the wrong decision, return it to Mother Earth within a reasonable time.

Until then, there is a lot of work on Mars for space probes, rovers, robotic aircraft, and android robots that would be the first real precursor mission with a human crew.