Mars is the only planet in the solar systeminhabited by robots. But what about us? Will we ever settle on the Red Planet? Despite the grandiose plans and loud statements, this prospect is doubtful: there is not enough oxygen on Mars, there is no water and food, and the temperature can drop to -175°C. The lack of necessary resources and the inability of mankind to take care of their own planet, it seems, are striving to put an end to plans to terraform this world. Nevertheless, world space agencies, including NASA, EKA and Roscosmos, call a manned flight to Mars the planned goal of the 21st century, and the head of SpaceX, Elon Musk, despite critics, intends to overpower humanity there. However, problems arise already at the first stage of colonization - as the results of a new study showed, people will be able to live on Mars for no more than four years.
- 1 Mars is an uninhabitable planet
- 2 Space and the human body
- 3 Flight to Mars and cosmic radiation
- 4 Lifespan on Mars
- 5 Why go to Mars?
Mars is an uninhabitable planet
Humanity has long been fascinated by the cosmos.But since interstellar travel is the lot of science fiction, you can only count on worlds located nearby. And since the Moon is not a good fit for a new home, the only suitable object is Mars. In the 20th century, life (including intelligent life) was sought on this desert planet, and as a result of its absence, the inhabitants of the 21st century look to Mars as their future home. But isn't our imagination running wild?
Let's start strictly, that at the moment the fourththe planet away from the sun is uninhabitable. And this is not an exaggeration - the surface of Mars is covered with regolith (stone dust), which, as scientists recently learned, is contaminated with perchlorates - chemical compounds that are extremely harmful to living organisms. Moreover, due to the atmosphere and pressure on Mars, water cannot exist in a liquid state.
Another problem is the flight to Mars itself, about which my colleague Ramis Ganiev spoke in more detail, do not miss it!
To survive in such harsh conditions, it is necessary to build a base on Mars with a recreated atmosphere, suitable oxygen levels, normal pressure and protection from radiation. Agree build something like this on an uninhabited planet, the task is not easy, and its cost is even scary to imagine.
Space and the human body
The human body has evolved overmillion years and adapted to environmental conditions. Pressure, gravity, protection from solar and cosmic radiation have allowed our species to become dominant on Earth. However, leaving this cozy blue world, we expose ourselves to mortal danger.
So, microgravity leads to calcium leaching from bone tissue:
astronauts lose bone mass 12 times fasterthan postmenopausal women (age-related aging of the female body). Weightlessness is fraught with loss of muscle mass, and the cardiovascular system is weakened without gravity, as a result of which blood circulates more slowly and can clot.
More on the topic: Space destroys the bones of astronauts, and it threatens the exploration of Mars
And although the daily complex of physical exercisesdesigned to combat muscle loss and maintain normal heart function, ISS astronauts return to Earth debilitated. These and a host of other health issues mean that Mars (for the foreseeable future) will remain a robot-inhabited planet, as human bodies are apparently not adapted for space travel.
Flight to Mars and cosmic radiation
Given the grandiose plans to send people toMars, scientists are considering all possible options for the flight and stay of astronauts on the surface of the Red Planet. So, creating artificial gravity on a spacecraft is a huge problem - we know that in a rotating system, centrifugal force creates an acceleration that can be used to recreate the equivalent of gravity. But even if there is enough space on a spacecraft for a centrifuge in which astronauts will spend several hours a day, it will not be possible to avoid the harmful effects of microgravity.
In films, we often see rotating spaceships, but why are they still not in reality? The point is probably that the creation of such a ship is beyond our reach conceptually, technically and financially. Moreover, no space agency is betting on such developments.
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An equally serious problem is spaceradiation. The Earth's atmosphere and magnetosphere partially deflect ultraviolet rays and completely block x-rays, gamma rays, and the solar wind. If you overcome this barrier without proper protection (ideally installed on a spacecraft), exposure cannot be avoided.
The human psyche can also be affectedtime of flight to Mars, which is confirmed by astronauts on the ISS. Imagine how the first crew going to Mars will feel, because one mistake will be enough to fail the mission, and, as you know, everyone can make a mistake. And if you can return from the ISS to Earth in three hours, the return from the Red Planet will last at least two and a half years.
More on the topic: How British scientists propose to create a magnetosphere on Mars
Lifespan on Mars
If we imagine that scientists can solvethe problems described above, how many years will future colonists live on Mars? A study recently published in the journal Space Weather details the threat from space radiation. The results, which serve as a guide for future missions, show that stay on the Red Planet for more than four years fraught with a lethal dose of radiation.
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Study authors from CaliforniaUniversity note that the greatest risk to future explorers of Mars and other planets is cosmic radiation, most of which will come from outside our solar system. The team of scientists came to this conclusion by combining geophysical models of particle emission with models of the effects of radiation on people and spacecraft.
And yet leave dreams of conquestspace and other planets is not worth it. At least that's what the authors of the scientific work think. Thus, the protection of the spacecraft will help to avoid the deadly effects of gravity, provided that the flight to Mars should not last more than four years. Moreover, the mission must launch from Earth during solar maximum, the time when solar activity reaches its peak.
Since crewed spaceflight to Mars,expected to take approximately nine months with current technology, sending humans to Mars and back could be done in less than two years, the authors of the study write.
Despite the threat of cosmic radiation, which imposes severe limits on flight duration and creates a number of technological difficulties, the results of a new study show that a mission to Mars is still viable.
Note that this is not about colonization, but aboutthe first manned flight to another planet. The new study, according to its authors, will help space agencies determine the exact timing of missions to Mars. Along with the recent identification of possible landing sites, the finer details of the first missions are coming together, bringing humanity closer to a new era of space exploration. But do we really need to go there?
Why fly to Mars?
One of the arguments in favor of sending people toMars is that we are much more efficient than robots and can learn a lot more about the planet. However, robotic vehicles are developing rapidly and have undeniable advantages - they do not need to eat, drink and sleep, and the conditions on the Red Planet do not interfere with the mission.
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At the same time, the estimated costone human mission is equivalent to the cost of 40 robotic missions. So is it necessary to put astronauts in mortal danger by sending them to an uninhabitable planet? Or is the game still worth the candle, do you think? The answer, as always, is waiting here and in the comments to this article!