“And then the earth, the world, the planet, the galaxy, and the entire solar system went crazy.” Robert Ludlum
Did you ever hear of the book – men are from Mars, women are from Venus? You probably did, if you’ve had relationship troubles and needed a book to understand your partner. But during your weird shower moments, you might have thought – can men ever be from Mars? Can they have the smug, red planet as their adopted home? Imagine the amazing possibilities. For plus-sized people, I hear your mass reduces to about a third of what is expected on earth. Good news big fellas – you can throw away your healthy meal plans and gym subscriptions.
Mars, here we come!
Err, sorry to burst your bubble, chubby, if you’re heavy-sized on earth, you’re likely to remain relatively heavy-sized on planet Mars. Now run along and do your squats!
For so long, people have fantasized about living on Mars. Scientists have made conjectures on the practicality of making the red dusty sphere our home. In fact, a couple of best-selling movies have been released based on that exact theme.
What if life suddenly ceases to be sustainable on our dear planet earth?
Would we have any reasonable hope of a refuge on Mars?
Most importantly, will Starbucks have a Martian branch?
These are questions that have plagued a lot of minds. In fact, tech mogul Elon Musk recently expressed his desire to launch people to Mars within a decade. Someone is really taking this expedition seriously.
Good one Elon!
But the more important question is: how feasible is this idea, really? Should we even bother trying to colonize Mars? Shouldn’t Mr. Musk rather be committing his funds to more profitable ventures – like buying me tonnes of pizzas daily? What obstacles await us? Because let’s face it, looks can be deceptive. That beckoning red exterior of a rose bush may actually be concealing a bed of thorns. If we can learn from a bush, we can learn from Mars.
Be wary of planet Mars, friends… be wary.
Now we’ll address some of the practical questions as we attempt to unravel this quiet, grim world. First of all, we’re not nearly there yet. We have made significant progress however – we’ve sent a vessel to Mars successfully. When Curiosity first landed on the planet in 2012, it was met with high fives and fist bumps. By the way, ‘Curiosity’ here doesn’t imply a sense of inquisitiveness. It’s only the rover (vessel) that first landed on Mars.
Like any great accomplishments and breakthroughs, we basked in it for a moment.
But as the dust settled,
and the champagne dried,
we realized the enormity of the task ahead.
As a teenager coming to the sudden realization that there was a tough life ahead of high school, we shuddered. We’ve still only managed to send a small vessel to Mars; in spite of all the money and expertise utilized. Curiosity took a few pictures, but that was it. It had no capacity to make a return trip.
This solemn fact gives us an idea of the difficult proposition ahead.
But what if we’ve somehow managed to find a way to build a large enough vessel to transport people to Mars? What if we could now make efficient return trips? Would that make the dream that much more feasible?
I’m guessing you must know my answer – it’s no! 😂
The first immediately apparent hurdle is the harsh atmosphere on Mars, which is mostly carbon dioxide. If you were an attentive science student in school, you must be thinking – oxygen is what should be predominating right, not carbon dioxide? If humans are to have a realistic chance of long-term survival, we’ll need to have a higher atmospheric oxygen supply. Yet another obstacle to consider is the low temperature found on Mars – vastly cooler than the most extreme polar regions on earth. When one considers this, plus the relative significant gravity-loss, it becomes apparent that space suits would be our everyday wear – cool initially, but we should need some fresh air after a while.
Yet another important aspect to consider is the sustainability of food supply.
I mean, we can only float so much
on the dusty streets before hunger pangs reveal themselves.
Hunger is no respecter of planet or terrain.
But with a thin atmosphere as well as reduced gravity and sunlight, it could be a herculean task getting things to grow. There will need to be a very effective modality of converting the little solar energy available in the atmosphere into fuel for sustainable plant growth. Selecting the best crops to grow may also be a difficult task. The limited room for plant growth on a spaceship would mean only high yielding crops would be considered. So if your favorite cereal takes a lot of space in the garden, you could be in for a hard time on Mars. 😉🧐
Also important is the need for sustainable buildings and infrastructure. Mars One has proposed a hi-tech system comprising rigid modules with an expandable living area. Such may be further expanded to create a community of living units shielded from the harsh radiation. Individual units come with their own individual air supply, while greenhouse technology is proposed to accompany the setup. These ideas come with their own unique, and possibly insurmountable obstacles, as you might expect.
Mars is the most Earth-like planet known to us.
But thinking that means we can comfortably inhabit it is akin to assuming an ape can pass for a human at thanksgiving – based on its humanoid form. There are still a number of gears to shift through technology-wise, while a lot more money will need to be spent to actualize the dream. Even at best, your quality of living on earth will likely be vastly inferior to that found on earth.
You might never have the privilege to relax on an exotic beach on a cool Saturday morning or watch a lion devour its prey on a safari.
Perhaps we should be honoring and appreciating life on planet earth more. After all, we have chocolate ice cream here!!! 💃🕺🍩🤪
x x x
Cool quotes about Mars and living on another planet:
- “The world will become only as great a place to live in as we make it.” Sharad Vivek Sagar
- “We haven’t got a spare planet. If we had it, we would sell it long time ago.” Ljupka Cvetanova
- “No one ever seems to wonder what happens if it turns out we hate living on a planet? What if the sky’s too big? What if the air stinks? What if we go hungry?’ ‘And what if the air tastes of honey? What if there’s so much food we all get too fat? What if the sky is so beautiful we don’t get any work done because we’re all looking at it too much?” Patrick Ness
- “The planet’s famous red colour is from iron oxide coating everything. So it’s not just a desert. It’s a desert so old it’s literally rusting.” Andy Weir
- “What is really the Mars One project? It is to carry Frank Sinatra to the Mars, it is to carry Hamlet to the Mars, Gandhi to the Mars, Buddha to the Mars. It is a project of carrying our memories, our knowledge, our history, our everything to the Mars! It is not only a project of saving our future but also a project of saving our whole past!” Mehmet Murat ildan
- “You need to live in a dome initially, but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on… So it’s a fixer-upper of a planet.” Elon Musk
- “Each planet has a story to tell.
With Mars it was nuclear aniallation.
With Venus it was industrial madness.
With Earth? I guess that greed will be the answer.” Anthony T. Hincks
Next post – Book Review “Heir Of Ashes”, Jina S. Bazzar