SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled plans to conquer Mars a few days ago. It is a very ambitious project and could realize one of the big dreams of science fiction literature. Sending people to Mars is the goal of this space project.
The first test ships will be sent in 2018, and the first manned flights, without return ticket, from 2024.
I have several questions:
- Who really wants to go to Mars and live there all his life?
- What are the hundreds of people willing to make such a trip, with no guarantee of arriving at their destination?
- How will they make Mars habitable before 2024?
The planet Mars is currently a planet hostile to life and therefore uninhabitable. The atmosphere, gravity, sandstorms that can last for weeks, soil that is not fertile for agriculture and the cold are the many obstacles to overcome before settling there. For example, temperatures on Mars are not conducive to living because they can oscillate between -5 ° C (in the best case) and -87 ° C.
Before sending people to the red planet, I think that we should first make the planet Mars habitable. For that, it would be necessary to modify the natural characteristics of Mars so as to make it livable for the humans (process of terraformation).
To make the red planet habitable, the two main modifications to bring to Mars are:
The reconstruction of the atmosphere
The rise in temperature
Elon Musk had looked into this problem and proposed to send nuclear bombs (thermonuclear bombs or H-bombs) to Mars to raise the temperature of the red planet, melt the ice of the poles and release more CO2 to thicken the atmosphere and bring liquid water to the surface of Mars.
Personally, I find this solution risky, we do not really know what will be the real consequences of the dropping of atomic bombs on Mars. Moreover, as it is a question of modifying the atmosphere of a whole planet, the quantity of nuclear bombs to be sent must be enormous to envisage a change of atmosphere on Mars. Added to this, the dust generated by such atomic explosions that could cause a nuclear winter because these dust could form huge clouds able to hide the sun’s rays, which would make the red planet really uninhabitable.
I think that recreating a new Earth on Mars is probably one of the big problems to solve before considering going there and living there.