Humans will never colonize Mars!: A now very near future in which humans will establish lasting colonies on Mars is something many of us now take for granted. Believing this is part of the optimism to which our faith in science and technology has accustomed us.
But in the case of Mars, that compared to the Moon is a world thousand times more distant and equally inhospitable, are we really sure of what we are told every day? Does Elon Musk think Mars is like Earth?
But who would want to live in underground tunnels lit by anti-depressant lamps, feeding on lettuce grown under UV lights? Who among us would be willing to live in a place where he can no longer breathe the air outside, and where he has to wear a spacesuit at all times, knowing that a slight accident there will be enough to find himself dead in the short by a minute?
Sure, walking on Mars would be a wonderful and profound experience for an astronaut. But visiting the planet to expand the range of our knowledge is very different from living there permanently by building a base and colonizing it. Mars is not made for humans. Mars will kill! And now I’ll explain why…
The Red Planet is a cold, dead space, with an atmosphere about 100 times thinner than Earth’s. The modest amount of air present on Mars is mainly composed of harmful carbon dioxide, which is too small to protect the surface from the Sun’s harmful rays.
The air pressure on Mars is only about 0.6 percent of the air pressure on Earth. You may also be exposed to the vacuum of space, which can result in a serious form of twisting—including ruptured lungs, dangerously swollen skin and body tissue, and eventual death.
The thin atmosphere also means that heat cannot be retained at the surface. The average temperature on Mars is -63 °C, with temperatures as low as -126.
In contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was recorded at the Vostok station in Antarctica on June 23, 1982, at -89 degrees Celsius. Once the temperature drops below -40 degrees, those who are not properly prepared for the occasion can expect hypothermia to set in. Within about five to seven minutes.
The mass of Mars is also less than normal. The gravity on the Red Planet is just one-third that of Earth’s, meaning that a 70 kg person on Earth would weigh 25 kg on Mars.
While this may sound appealing, this low-gravity environment will wreak havoc to human health in the long run, and possibly negatively impact human fertility. Yet despite these and many other issues, the popular idea is swirling that we will soon be able to easily colonize Mars.
Elon Musk is estimating colonies on Mars as early as the 2050s, while astrobiologist Lewis Darnell, a professor at the University of Westminster, offers a more modest estimate, saying it will be about 50 to 100 years before “people’s population.” Sufficient numbers moved to Mars to live in self-sufficient cities.”
The United Arab Emirates is aiming to build a Martian city of 600,000 inhabitants by 2117, in one of the more ambitious visions of the future. Sadly, this is literally science fiction.
While there is no doubt in my mind that humans will eventually go to Mars and even build a base or two, the notion that we will soon have a colony inhabited by hundreds or thousands of people is pure bullshit and has come to the fore. There is a constant denial of tremendous challenges. With such a possibility.
Pioneering astronaut engineer Louis Friedman, the co-founder of the Planetary Society, likens this unfounded enthusiasm to unfinished visions proposed during the 1940s and 1950s.
“At the time, cover stories for magazines like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science featured colonies under the oceans and in the Antarctic — Friedman explained. The sentiment was that humans would find a way to take over every nook and cranny of the planet, no matter what. No matter how challenging or insurmountable it may be, but it hasn’t happened.
We do visit Antarctica occasionally and we have a few bases there too, but that’s about it. Under the oceans, it’s even worse, with some limited human actions, but really, it’s really, very little.”
After landing on the Moon, Friedman said that he and his colleagues were extremely optimistic about the future, believing that we would do more and more things, such as colonize Mars and the Moon, but the fact remains that no The manned spaceflight program, whether Apollo, the Space Shuttle program, or the International Space Station, has established the necessary infrastructure for the establishment of colonies on Mars, such as building the necessary infrastructure, making food and water sourcing safe and viable. Finding ways to reduce the harmful effects of radiation and low gravity, among other issues.
Unlike other areas, development in human spaceflight, he said, “has stagnated.” Friedman agreed that we would likely base on Mars, but “historical evidence” suggests that colonization is unlikely for the foreseeable future.
NASA and other space agencies are currently working very hard to create and test countermeasures for the various negative effects of living on Mars.
For example, astronauts on the ISS, who are subject to tremendous muscle and bone loss, attempt to counteract the impacts by doing strength and aerobic training while aloft in space, but we’re not there yet… still. Not enough.
In his latest book, On the Future: Prospects for Humanity, cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees briefly address the issue of colonization of Mars: “Don’t expect mass migration from Earth. It is a dangerous fallacy to think that Space offers an escape.
We have to solve these problems here. Dealing with climate change may sound daunting, but it’s a dodge compared to landlocked Mars. No place in our solar system offers the same atmosphere as the Antarctic or the top of Everest.
There is no ‘Planet B’ for normal risk-averse people.” By terraforming, scientists are referring to the hypothetical possibility of geoengineering a planet to make it habitable for humans and other life.
For Mars, this would mean the injection of oxygen and other gases into the atmosphere to increase surface temperature and air pressure, among other interventions.
A common argument in favor of colonizing Mars is that it would allow us to begin the process of turning the planet into a habitable state. But, as Friedman pointed out, “it’s at least thousands of years in the making.”
To be clear, terraforming is not necessarily impossible, but the time-frame and technologies are needed to prevent the possibility of maintaining large, vibrant colonies on Mars for the foreseeable future. Until such time, Mars without terraforming will present a hostile environment for venturing pioneers.
First and foremost there is intense radiation to deal with, which would put the colonists a constant health burden. There are many other major challenges to colonizing Mars, one of which is radiation exposure.
It’s an “issue that a lot of people, including SpaceX, aren’t thinking very clearly. Living underground or in shielded bases may be an option, but we have to expect that given the additional risk of cancer over time.” The rate would still be “an order of magnitude higher”.
We can quantify the risks for about a year, but not in the super long term. The problem is that you can’t stay underground or on bases forever. As soon as you go out to do something, you’re in trouble!
In theory, we could create an artificial environment on Mars, whether by building domes or underground habitats, and so the radiation problem could be solved, but the problems are still huge, and in a sense anti-human.
Life in a Martian colony would, indeed, be miserable, with people forced to live in artificially lit underground bases, or in thickly protected surface stations with minimal access to the outside.
Living in this closed environment, with limited access to the surface, can result in other health problems related to particular indoor living, such as depression, boredom from lack of stimulation, inability to concentrate, poor eyesight, and high blood pressure. Mention a complete detachment from nature.
And like the International Space Station, the Martian habitat would be a microbial desert, hosting only a small sample of the bacteria needed to maintain a healthy human microbiome.
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Another issue is related to motivation. As Friedman pointed out earlier, we don’t see colonists living in Antarctica or under the sea, so why should we expect a group of people to live in such a place.
This seems like a poor choice for living on Earth, and certainly a huge step forward in terms of quality of life. A strong case can also be made that the hope of giving birth to future generations of Martian colonists for future families is borderline cruelty.
And assuming that humans can breed on Mars as well, that is an open question. There is the issue of conception to consider in the context of living in a minimum gravity environment, excluding the harmful effects of radiation on the developing fetus.
We don’t know how sperm and eggs will function on Mars, or the important first stages of conception. And above all, we don’t know how the reduced gravity will affect the mother and fetus. The issue of human pregnancies on Mars is an unknown unknown.
Low gravity can also “confuse” the gestational process, delaying or interfering with important stages of fetal development.
On Earth, bones, muscles, the circulatory system, and other aspects of human physiology develop by working against gravity. The human body may have adapted to the low-gravity conditions on Mars, but we simply don’t know.
A strong case can be made that any attempts to breed on Mars should be forbidden until more is known. Enforcing such a policy on its nearest planet, 34 million miles away, is another question entirely, although one would expect that Martian societies would not lead to anarchy and complete disregard of public safety and established ethical standards.
Astronauts returning from long-duration missions take an arduous journey back to Earth for the first few days, experiencing nausea, dizziness, and weakness. Some of them, like NASA’s Scott Kelly, never feel like their old selves, which includes declining cognitive test scores and altered gene function.
The recovery time is proportional to the length of the mission – the longer the mission, the longer the recovery.
What is troubling is that we have no data for microgravity exposure for more than a year or two, and it remains an open question as to the effects of reduced gravity on the human body years or even decades after the exposure. I am an open question. With this in mind, it is an open question as to how Martian colonists might set off on a return journey to Earth.
It can be a really brutal experience, especially after experiencing years in a partial gravity environment. Children born on Mars (if that’s even a possibility) will never be able to travel to the planet where their species originated. Finally, there is day-to-day survival to consider.
Limited access to basic resources, such as food and water, can further hinder a colony’s ability to grow and thrive. Establishing a stable resource for a long stay is possible, but it will be difficult.
We would like to be close to the water and water ice, but for that, we have to go far north. But the further north you go, the more difficult the conditions on the surface become.
Winters are cold, and there is little sunlight. Colonists would also need stable food sources, and figure out a way to keep the plants away from radiation. The regolith, or soil, on Mars, is toxic, containing dangerous perchlorate chemicals, so it should also be avoided.
To grow the crop, the colonists would probably build underground hydroponic greenhouses. This would require special lighting, genetically modified plants specifically designed for Mars, and plentiful water, the latter of which would be difficult to source on Mars.
Technological solutions to these problems may exist, such as medical interventions to treat specific diseases of Mars. But then again, nothing that we can develop any time soon. And even if we do develop treatments to treat humans living on Mars, these interventions are likely to be limited in scope, requiring continued care and attention to patients.
As Martin Rees pointed out, Mars and other space environments are “inherently hostile to humans,” but as he writes in his book, we (and our offspring on Earth) should appease brave space adventurers, Because they will have a decisive role in leading the post-human future and determining what happens in the twenty-first century and beyond.
From a post-human future, Rees is referring to a hypothetical future era in which humans have undergone extensive biological and cybernetic modifications in such a way that they can no longer be classified as human.
So while Mars will remain inaccessible to normal, run-of-the-mill Homo sapiens, the Red Planet may be available to those who dare to modify themselves and their offspring.
One possible solution is to radically modify human biology so that Martian colonists are specially adapted to live, work, and breed on the Red Planet.
As Rees wrote in On the Future: This may be the first step towards divergence into a new species. The genetic modification would be complemented by cyborg technology – a transition to truly inorganic intelligence could actually take place.
So, it is these space-traveling adventurers, not those of us comfortably adapted to life on Earth, who will lead the posthumous era. In fact, modifying them to adapt to living on Mars would require dramatic changes.
Our DNA will have to be specifically tailored to enable a long, healthy life on Mars, which includes genetic changes for good muscle, bone, and brain health. These traits can be made generic, such that the colonists of Mars can pass the characteristics on to their offspring.
In cases where biology is not up to the task, scientists can use cybernetic enhancements, which include artificial neurons or synthetic skin capable of warding off dangerous UV rays.
Nanotechnology in the form of molecular machines can deliver medicines, perform repair work and eliminate the need to breathe and eat. Collectively, these changes would result in an entirely new species of humans – one created specifically for Mars.
Like some of the other solutions proposed, this won’t happen anytime soon, nor will it be easy. And it can’t be. This brings to mind a bleak prospect: We could be trapped on Earth.
As Friedman pointed out, this has some heavy existential and philosophical implications. If humans can’t make it to Mars, it means we are destined to be a “single planet species,” he said.
What’s more, it suggests that extraterrestrial civilizations may be in the same boat, and that “the prospect of intelligent life spreading throughout the universe is very, very sad.”
“If we can’t make it on a nearby planet with an atmosphere, water, and a stable surface – which in theory suggests we can – then certainly we’re not going to make it beyond – Friedman said – but if we are doomed to be a planetary species, we need to recognize, both psychologically and technically, that we are going to live within the limits of the Earth.” Which is a good thing.
Whether we may eventually become an interplanetary or interstellar species is an open question. We must work to realize this future possibility, but until then, we must ensure that Earth – the only habitable planet we know of – remains that way.
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Information Source: Youtube – Insane Curiosisty