A survey conducted by the Smithsonian magazine, found that
63% of Americans expected astronauts to land on Mars, and 53% believed that
ordinary people would be able to travel in space by 2050. NASA
challenged themselves to hire African Americans as research mathematicians; and
John F Kennedy challenged America to go the moon. America should continue to
pioneer the space program, and let us go to the next big frontier: Mars! For
the sake of the United States, for the sake of humanity as a whole it is
imperative that we head to Mars and colonize it as our second home.
and dynasties eventually collapse no matter the size no matter the Strength.
History has repeatedly shown this. The Holy Roman Empire, one of history’s
longest lasting empires, it stretched from what is now Portugal to modern day
Iraq, and once they stopped conquering. That is when the empire started to
fall. This is not just the case for the Roman Empire the same thing happened to
lots of history’s most powerful empires: the Mongols, British, and the Ming
dynasty. They share the common theme that once an empire stops expanding they
collapse. Right now, the United States is the world’s greatest power. We
have yet to debacle but we have stopped expanding. That does not mean we should
start going out and conquering other nations. The United States can expand
peacefully to Mars.
must move ahead, the space race for Mars will start very soon. If we do not go,
another country with no doubt will. “In my opinion, there is no more
convincing way to demonstrate American leadership for the remainder of this
century than to commit to a permanent presence on Mars,” said Buzz Aldrin.
Aldrin is completely right. If we do not get to mars, we cannot declare it our
own. When another country does, we will no longer be the world power. We will
have to truckle to the country that made it. As American’s we should not settle
for second place. In addition, we would not be able to enjoy the fruits of
labor that we would get from reaching Mars first.
Mars will bring an abundance of benefits socially, economically, and
technologically. Just like when we travelled to the moon, going to mars will
bring a great deal of jobs for the United States economy. There will be a huge
need for engineers, doctors, scientists, and astronomers, which will be
required for the Mars missions. Going to Mars is going to require a huge effort
by the country as a whole. It will be giving us opportunities to put aside our
other social problems and focus on a singular unifying mission. Also completing
the Mars mission will bring a large presence of patriotism to the United
States. As well as make humanity feel “safe” knowing we have another planet we
can live on. In case, we “trash” earth. In addition, going to mars will give a
boost in our technology as when we travelled to the moon. Like when NASA
developed, a computer algorithm that helped extract better information from
blurry satellite images. That same algorithm was used to help distinguish early
stages of breast cancer. Now imagine the possibilities that Mars can bring us.
would have to design a Mars transit vehicle to be able to reach mars. The Mars
Transit vehicle is made up of four parts. These parts are put together in
earth’s orbit: two propellant stages, a lander, and a transit habitat. The two
propellant stages will be used to launch the transit vehicle from Earth’s orbit
and carry it to Mars. The transit habitat will serve as the astronaut’s home
for their seven month journey. They will sleep, exercise, and prepare for the
landing. The Mars lander serves as the only component that helps the astronaut
land on mars.
to Mars would require a lot of expensive technological advancements such as the
development of an efficient life support system that can generate or recycle
clean water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. Also the life support system
should be able to generate energy that would be able to sustain high tech
computers, suit charging stations, light and the rest of the life support
system. Also the most important thing and possibly what may be the most
difficult, the life support system must be able to generate breathable air for
We will also have a new version of mars rovers to
tremendously help the astronauts out with various task while there on mars.
First, before the astronauts even arrive, the rovers will be used to scout out
the best location for the settlement. They will search for and measure the
water in the soil. Also, they can move landers around possibly if a better
location is found or to avoid a storm. They will help with setting up the
settlement. They can handle gentle task such as unrolling the thin film solar
panels, or connecting tubes such as the air tube between the life support unit
and living unit. Mars Rovers will be imperative for the success of the Mars
A huge problem for the Mars Mission is fuel, a million
pounds of fuel will only get a rocket to earth’s orbit. While Mars is still 35
million miles away that’s equivalent to travelling around the earth roughly
1400 times. It is impossible to carry enough fuel to use the engines for the
journey to Mars, and relying on momentum would take too long and is very risky
because you can get knocked off course and there is no abort option. However,
to avoid all the mayhem engineers are designing new types of rockets that can
travel at higher speeds and are more fuel efficient there are designs ranging
from using water thrusters, to nuclear technology, but there is a major breakthrough
in a rocket design.
The electromagnetic propulsion drive, or EM drive for
short a successfully tested NASA engine that can take humans to Mars in just 70
days. The great part about the engine that it requires no chemical fuel.
Instead the engine relies on electromagnetic waves. This new rocket engine
would drastically change space travel. First, payloads for rockets wouldn’t
weigh as much due to decline of the need for fuel. Most importantly it would
make space voyages a whole lot faster. It would only take us 70 days to reach
mars, it is a huge decrease as compared to a projected 300 days.
Mars atmosphere is one hundred times thinner than earth’s
atmosphere. It’s made up 95% carbon dioxide, 2.7% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, 0.13%
oxygen, and 0.08% carbon monoxide. As well as having small amounts of water,
nitrogen oxide, neon, hydrogen-deuterium-oxygen, krypton and xenon. In
comparison to Earth’s atmosphere, which is the complete opposite of mars 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.93%argon, 0.04%
carbon dioxide, and minor amounts of neon, helium, methane, krypton and
hydrogen, as well as water vapor. Also, the lack of a magnetic field has made
Mars thin atmosphere vulnerable to the suns solar winds.
Due to Mars’ thin atmosphere, and distance from the son
Mars is a cold planet temperatures range from minus 195 degrees Fahrenheit near
the poles during the winter to a comfortable 70 Fahrenheit at midday near the
equator. Scientist believe that 3.5 billion years ago Mars atmosphere was thick
enough to hold water. They believe this due to satellite images showing old sea
beds, river beds, and ocean ridges. Scientist also believe that it snows on
mars, but instead of having water based snowflakes like we have here on earth.
The snowflakes are made up of carbon dioxide, and they build up as a fog
instead of a precipitation. Also, Mars’ polar ice caps are made of carbon
dioxide just like the snow. This is important information to consider, if we
ever plan on terraforming Mars.
Terra (earth) form (create) the objective or meaning of
terraforming is to create an earth like planet, or a human suitable environment.
Mars can it be terraformed? Absolutely, but there are four main thing that need
to be done in order to terra form Mars. First, we would have to find a way to
raise Mar’s temperature. The average temperature on mars is minus 80 degrees
Fahrenheit that is too cold for prolonged exposure. Secondly, we would have to
increase Mars’ atmospheric pressure. Mars’ current pressure is too low to
sustain liquid water which is an essential factor for sustaining human life.
Thirdly, we would have to change the composition of the atmosphere, which would
need for us to replace current carbon dioxide atoms with oxygen. This will make
less toxic for humans. Finally, we would have to create a magnetic field to
protect us from solar radiation, solar winds, and small space degree.
How would we raise Mars’ temperature we would release
large quantities of greenhouse gases that would gradually warm the planet’s
surface. Which will melt Mars’ polar ice caps thus releasing more greenhouse
gases. Which will significantly help Mars’ temperature rise even more. The
process will continue until the polar ice caps have melted and become oceans.
How would we
introduce more greenhouse gases? Scientist have come up with ideas to introduce
greenhouse gases and melt the polar ice caps, the ideas include setting up
factories on mars, which would not work well due to the cost and time it would
take to get the materials there, but it’s a possibility. There is another
fashion that can be tried the process includes bombarding mars’ polar caps with
nuclear bombs to melt them, or redirecting asteroids to crash on mars. Why
asteroids? The asteroids contain large amounts of ammonia which in large
quantities will cause temperatures to rise. Also, another less destructive idea
is to position large mirrors that will redirect the sun’s rays and gradually
heat up Mars that way. The problem is that method would take longer than the
previous two methods.
The next task of producing oxygen in Mars’ atmosphere can
be done by shipping gas canisters full of oxygen or machines that pump oxygen
from earth to mars, but just like putting factories on mars that idea is too
expensive. There is a much simpler solution that involves plant and bacteria
life. Scientist are currently working on a project that would send special
bacteria or algae to Mars. The bacteria would use Mars’ soil and produce
oxygen. Depending on how well the bacteria works the bacteria can cover the
whole planet, and we let them do their job, or we can introduce biospheres. The
Biospheres will allow for farming on mars, and will release the oxygen it
produces into the atmosphere. With this method in a couple of years the
biospheres will be unnecessary and mars atmosphere will be breathable.
Now comes the challenge of
Mars’ not having a solid magnetosphere this makes us vulnerable to destructive
solar winds. To deal with the solar winds we need to create an artificial
magnetic field. The objective will be challenging it is the most efficient way
to restore the planets atmosphere. A NASA scientist named Jim Green suggested
that we deploy a magnetic dipole field, and that would work sufficiently in
protecting mars from solar winds. The field would require a very powerful
magnet with a strength measure around one to two tesla, and it would be placed
in the L1 orbit. In some years mars would be at half the atmospheric pressure
of earth remarkable progress. With a good atmosphere in place ice caps would
melt temperatures will rise. Oceans will be created and then we can start
planting plants, than later introduce animal species etc.
The Mars mission has a huge amount of hazards, there is a
number of things that can go wrong. Even with NASA’s decent track record, the
Mars mission will require a lot of planning and design to prepare for lots of
space travel and Mars’ dangerous conditions. We do not want the first Mars
vehicle to blow up like the challenger shuttle did. There is a risk of having a
small meteorite that travel 35,000 miles per hour hit the Mars transit vehicle
and drastically endanger the astronauts. There is also bone and muscle determination
that humans suffer from with space travel, and a constant exposure to different
types of radiation.
Unlike Space X, NASA’s flight or launch record has been
pretty good only having two tragic incidents where the shuttles blow up. The
incidents were of challenger and Columbia. However, the possibility of an
engineering flaw or wrong calculation is very possible you can the vehicle can
tragically blow up on the launch pad here on earth it is possible. However with
NASA’s advancement in technology and computer simulations the chance of an
incident like that happening is decreased.
Again with Mars atmosphere comes another problem. Landing
on Mars will be a quite a challenge. Due to Mars’ having a very thin atmosphere
there won’t be as much friction like there was when shuttles re-entered earth.
The friction played a huge role in drastically slowing down vehicles for
re-entry. That makes a huge difference because scientist will have to find a
way to safely land the astronauts on Mars’ surface. Possibly they can use a
system of rockets to slow the Mars’ lander.
Although being weightless in space is reportedly the most
enjoyable thing about it for most astronauts. Being weightless is hazardous to
the human body. Weightlessness causes muscle determination, vision loss, and
bone composition loss all serve as a huge hazard for humans when we travel in
space. One astronaut has reportedly went from 20/20 vision all the way to
20/100 vision this was from a 6 month tour in the space station. There is also
another case of an astronaut who exercised twice a day for 1 hour periods each
time and he still suffered a 14%bone loss which was isolated to his hips and
lower spine, and reportedly only has 65% of the strength he used to have.
The problem of muscle determination, vision loss, and
bone composition loss due to space travel can be fixed or at least alleviated
by creating artificial gravity. Artificial gravity is created by spinning. In Brandeis
university you can experience artificial gravity in there machine. The rotation
of the machine produces centrifugal force that pushes everything in the room
away from its center towards the wall. The force acts no differently than
gravity does on the human body. Building a spinning space ship may not be
feasible. It would probably be more practical to just have a spinning room in a
space craft. It will give astronauts a great workout environment putting their
bones and muscles to work.
Small Meteorites in space travelling 35,000 miles per
hour have the capability to rip five inch holes in a spacecraft heading to
Mars. One pebble shaped meteorite travelling 35,000 miles per hour have the
power to jeopardize an entire Mars astronauts crews lives with their impact on
the vehicle. However, it didn’t take long for scientist to develop a solution
to that problem. Scientist have developed and tested an armor capable of
stopping such fast and powerful meteorites using mere layers of foam to act as
a cushion to slow the projectile down and a very hard type of metal to
completely stop it from penetrating all the way through.
There is a threat scientist are still researching and
have not developed a practical defense against, the threat of cosmic radiation.
Cosmic radiation, sub-atomic particles traveling light speed pierce human body
like butter. The radiation damages your vision and can possibly cause long term
cancer in the human body. It is impractical to carry lead in space but maybe
having a lead chamber made for astronauts to sleep in can help fight the
effects of cosmic radiation. There are developments being made such as an Australia
a scientist has created a light shield that should help stop some rays from piercing
In conclusion, even with the great challenges that come
with the Mars mission astronauts are not deterred. NASA has not stopped there
research, Space X’s Elon Musk continues to believe humans will eventually one
day be able to live on Mars. It is said that exploration is part of human’s
genetic code I am a firm believer of that. Even if the whole idea may sound
preposterous in your mind it is a great thing to believe in the human race
becoming an interplanetary species. We would cement the United States legacy as
becoming the pioneers of interplanetary space travel, and hopefully
terraforming. Are you ready for the next frontier?