Since ancient times, humans have been interested in exploring the heavens. Even centuries ago, the Chinese used to blast rockets into space for ceremonial purposes. And as we all know, during the late 20th century we finally created rockets powerful enough to overcome gravity, eventually getting us to the Moon.

Now new advances in technology have made it possible to set our sights on a destination more than 200 million kilometres (124 million miles) away: Mars

Let’s take a look at some of the puzzle pieces coming together to make a trip to Mars a reality:

The people

Elon Musk, the CEO and CTO of Space X, is one of the biggest advocates of Mars exploration. In December of 2015, his company was able to successfully launch a rocket, send 11 satellites into orbit, and land the rocket vertically. This major breakthrough will no doubt play a role in a mission to Mars.

There’s also Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon. Aldrin is also a big supporter of Mars exploration. In his book, “Mission to Mars,” Aldrin stated that it should be our next exploration goal.

Technology

In order for us to get to Mars, we need a spacecraft equipped with facilities that will keep astronauts safe and healthy for around 200 days (6 months). This requires a sufficient amount of fuel as well as a special propulsion system, something NASA is looking into right now.

Space X is also developing its own craft called the Dragon Capsule. The company believes their craft will someday be used as the main mode of transportation for interplanetary trips.

Experiments and research

Astronauts embarking on a trip to Mars face six months of isolation in tiny, cramped quarters. And when they finally get there? They have to endure the harsh weather and conditions of the Martian surface.

The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation and the Concordia Research Facility in Antarctica are conducting experiments and finding out how humans can stay comfortable, healthy, and happy during the trip to Mars.

The two facilities are conducting tests on a group of people living together in confined, isolated spaces. These simulations attempt o mirror the experience of travelling and living on the surface of Mars.

9 Comments
  1. Only by colonisation will we be able to save humanity extincition. I find it a must if we want our race to be able to live for a long time. Earth will eventually get destroyed and that’s not by the sun, but by ourselves. Building a colony on Mars would be the first step onto a new era, so bring it on. I heard Mars One were also looking into bringing humans to Mars by 2025. I think this is worth an article for.

  2. Just feels like there isn’t much of a government funded space race anymore. I suppose budgets are tight and the return isn’t very quick on space travel.
    I am interested in the tech behind what will get us there, but more interest how we deal with the political side of it all.
    Will the first people to land lay claim to the planet?
    Or will an agreement be much like a marine laws where you only own a distance from where you are?
    It would be great if we all came together for this great common goal, but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime (as a 30 year old)

  3. Within 20 years we’ll have humans on the red planet. That would be awesome. Colonists would have to wait a few more decades I suppose.

    Last year researchers conducted experiments to find out if “earth crops” could be grown on Mars. They used Mars equivalent soil and the results were encouraging. Those who travel to Mars, once they get there can plant some crops and try to survive without getting any supplies from earth 🙂

  4. It’s all very exciting but I’m not sure I’d like to be the one stuck on Mars for 6 months in tiny quarters. I applaud those men and women that spend their careers training for these missions and put themselves at risk for our scientific development. They are braver than me!

    • I know, right? Those who go there on this mission for the first time must be some really special individuals, fearless and willing to risk it all, even their own lives. Just today I heard a company had plans to send people to mars in 9 years, this might be the start of a colonization of this planet. To me it sounds great 🙂 And I hope they are successful.

  5. It’s always interesting to see hoe much we have been through as a race, we’ve acomplished what people 200 years ago wouldn’t even thought that it was possible.
    I wonder how far we can get… a little part of me is excited to see if I will be alive when we discover another galaxy (maybe, who knows) or even get to see another forms of life, that would be extremely interesting.

    • We have discovered a new galaxy recently 😉 I’d be more excited about another forms of life being found… intelligent ones. But if Stephen Hawking is right, then we are better off being on our own right now, because he says that it is very likely that new life form might be waaaay more advanced than us… So what happened in the Americas to the natives when the Europeans arrived might happen again, but we’d of course be on the losing end.

  6. It’s pretty amazing that we’re advancing so fast, only a few decades ago we put the first man on the moon and now we’re making plans to put people on Mars, it’s pretty mindblowing when you think about it.
    I can’t wait to see if we’re actually going to live on Mars or the Moon, but I probably won’t get to see this in my lifetime. Oh well.. 🙁

  7. This is so fascinating! I heard today in the news that there is a company that is planning to take humans to mars in 9 years. I hope I am still around to witness such a thing, that would be so amazing! But I wonder who would volunteer for such a thing? I bet those who get to be sent there are some really special individuals.

    This ought to be one of the best investments ever. Because it is a fact that the earth will be swallowed by the sun (when the sun enters its supernova phase) once it runs out ”fuel”. Humanity will need a new home when that happens… if we are still around, and mars could be at a safe distance from the sun when it expands… so it might be safe from its grip. I hope our colonization efforts in mars are successful, I mean, the future of humanity might depend on it.

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