Elon Musk - genius, playboy, philanthropist andthe founder of SpaceX, a private space company, recently unveiled his new spacecraft under the modest name of Starship. It is designed to carry up to 100 crew members and passengers. And Starship (or its future versions) will have to participate in the much-sought after mission to Mars. But is the Starship really called to bring only good? In this case, not everyone shares optimism.
How can Starship hurt Mars?
There are plenty of reasons to believe that SpaceX will achievesuccess in space exploration. The company showed extremely impressive growth in this regard, even doing what NASA could not. In particular, Musk succeeded in creating reusable rockets. But now it's not about them. The launch of Starship to the surface of the Red Planet is planned to be made in 2024. Moreover, Mr. Musk wants to build four or five versions of Starship in the next six months. And the first rocket will enter the Earth’s orbit earlier. This is a very rapid development.
As the astrobiologist Samantha assures in his articleRolf, if life exists elsewhere in our universe, then the solar system is a good place to start your search. Along with some satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, Mars is one of the main contenders for the presence of some kind of microbial life now or in the past. However, there is a risk that people who carry germs and walk around the Red Planet may “infect” it. And this pollution can threaten alien organisms if they exist. It can also make it impossible to find out if any microbes discovered on Mars are “local” or terrestrial in origin. It is expected that the mission to return samples from Mars to Earth will be completed by the early 2030s.
Of course, one could argue that there are strictprotocols that help minimize the chance of infection. They were initiated back in 1967 and should be strictly implemented by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. But can we be sure that by pushing the boundaries of the space available to us in such a short time, the "corners" will not be cut or the standards will not be slightly eliminated? After all, following the protocols means stretching the time of the space program.
See also: SpaceX's prototype spacecraft caught fire again during trials
Oil is added to the fire and here's what else: neither on the SpaceX website, nor simply on the Internet is there anything that would suggest that SpaceX complies with these rules. In addition, Elon Musk himself stated literally the following:
I don’t think that some kind of terrestrial bacterium cancalmly migrate to Mars. And if there is any life on this planet, then it will be located very deep underground. So do not worry about it.
Other moral issues
You can write what you think about it inour chat in Telegram, and for our part, we will continue and talk about this. Another problem is the health of people who travel to Mars. Far space is not without dangers, but at least working in low Earth orbit, on the moon and the International Space Station, the Earth’s magnetic field provides some protection from harmful cosmic radiation.
Mars does not have its own magneticfield, and its atmosphere provides almost no protection. Astronauts will be exposed to radiation on the surface of Mars and in space during a six-month journey between the planets. Although work is underway in this area, radiation protection technology is far behind the required standards. And something needs to be done with this.