There is a lot of speculation about possible human colonisation in the Red Planet. There are many studies being conducted to confirm and make it a reality. The presence of water on the planet and the look and feel of its surface conditions make it seem the most hospitable in comparison to the other planets. Apart from Venus, Mars is the only other planet that requires less energy per unit mass to reach from our mother Earth. Though it seems that colonisation of Mars is possible there are a lot of other challenges.
Mars’s similarity to Earth
Though Venus is considered the sister planet of Earth because of its size, surface gravity and bulk composition, the similarities Mars has to Earth make it more appealing for colonisation. A few of the similarities are enumerated below:
· Human habitation conditions
The conditions such as temperature and atmospheric pressure are very close to that of Earth however the air pressure is very low along with low oxygen content. This brings up the requirement for complex and artificial life-support systems to make colonisation a reality.
The absence of a magnetic field in Mars along with a very thin atmosphere allows a lot of ionizing radiation enters Mars. Though a long time exposure to such radiation can cause harm it was also found that living underground may reduce this radiation exposure to a great extent.
One would need less energy per unit mass to reach Mars from Earth than from any other planet apart from Venus. As of now it is identified that going to Mars requires on to travel around 9 months in space. However this time can be shortened to 6 months by using modified trajectories which use a high amount of energy and fuel. This requirement of large amounts of fuel needs high delta-v which is the energy per unit mass and is not possible using chemical rockets. However, this increased delta-v is possible using advanced technology of spacecraft propulsion.
The required equipment
The concept of Mars colonisation will require a lot of equipment for sustaining life. Equipment that help in providing services to mankind as well as equipment needed for production of food, water and energy including oxygen will be necessary.
The polar regions of Mars are considered to be good settlement spots as the presence of polar ice has been noted. Equatorial regions are considered good points as they have natural caves which could help shield humans from radiation.
Sterilizing human missions to this extent seems to be almost an impossible task because humans are hosts to a lot of microorganisms. The most viable option is containment. There is the possibility of back contamination to Earth in case they become carriers of microorganisms.
There are many theories of colonising mars. The human race is an intelligent lot and will in fact come up with a viable plan soon with ideas on transforming mars.