Can Humans Colonize Mars? By Gopi Melam, 8th grade, Delaware

It’s no wonder that we humans are depleting Earth’s resources quickly, and the amount of resources we use is growing exponentially. Eventually Earth won’t have enough resources to support all of humanity, so what happens then? Will human development end there? While Earth may not have enough resources, the whole universe does. Momentarily, switching to reusable energy is the best possible solution, but space exploration is also necessary for human growth and development.


Not all planets in our Solar System may not be hospitable, but the resources are plentiful. Titan, one of Saturn's moons, has more oil than all of Earth combined. It is said that Titan has hundreds of more natural gas and oil than Earth does. This moon would be a good place to colonize just for resources. While colonizing Titan would be beneficial, a better start would be the collinzaing a place a little closer to Earth, Mars. NASA is currently working towards the end goal of colonizing Mars.


Their goals currently are determining if there is any sign of life on Mars, understanding the climate of Mars, mapping the geography of Mars, and sending humans on Mars. Curiosity Rover has already been on Mars since 2012, which has helped scientists understand the climate and geography of Mars, and they have concluded there could have been life. Now all that’s left on their checklist is sending a human to Mars. A new rover named, ExoMars, was a rover designed to check the hospitality of the planet but the launch was postponed from 2020 to 2022. Their rockets are getting better and better as time passes, but currently they have Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) which uses energy from the Sun to accelerate spaceships at high speeds.


The plan of colonizing Mars consists of humanity living inside of globe-like structures containing habitable areas of land fueled by the materials around them, such as soil, water ice, and carbon dioxide. We have the technology to send a human to space, but what’s stopping us is the effects it could have on humans. Radiation or cosmic rays found in space can damage human cells, but that’s as far as we know. The effects of this radiation is unknown besides that, and to make it worse this type of radiation can pass through spaceships. Ignoring these problems could prove to be fatal.


Mars is approximately 225 kilometers away from Earth, and the difficulty of getting there is profound. Getting a man on that planet would be an incredible achievement but this distance is still minuscule compared to the size of the Milky Way galaxy, which is about 100,000 light years wide. Exploring our whole galaxy is impossible since moving at the speed of light requires infinite energy, which we don’t have. Even so, going to Mars and starting a colony there is a good start to human space exploration.


References:

Eck, Allison. Can We Colonize Mars? NOVA, 2018, https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/want-to-live-in-a-treehouse-on-mars/.

NASA’s Journey to Mars. NASA, 2018, https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/journey-to-mars-next-steps-20151008_508.pdf.

Redd, Nola. Milky Way Galaxy: Facts About Our Galactic Home. Space.com, 2017, https://www.space.com/19915-milky-way-galaxy.html.



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