Will we ever get to live on Mars? The Red Planet is a cold, dead place, with an atmosphere about 100 times thinner than Earth’s. The paltry amount of air that does exist on Mars is primarily composed of noxious carbon dioxide, which does little to protect the surface from the Sun’s harmful rays.
The average temperature on Mars is -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 degrees Celsius), with temperatures dropping as low as -195 degrees F (-126 degrees C). By contrast, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was at Vostok Station in Antarctica, at -128 degrees F (-89 degrees C) on June 23, 1982.
But interest in living on Mars persists. Evil Bond Villain Elon Musk and his SpaceX are anticipating colonies on Mars as early as the 2050s. Astrobiologist Lewis Darnell, a professor at the University of Westminster, makes a more modest estimate: about 50-100 years before “substantial numbers of people have moved to Mars to live in self-sustaining towns.” Crazily enough. the United Arab Emirates is aiming to build a Martian city of 600,000 occupants by 2117, in one of the more ambitious visions of the future.
November 2015 saw Administrator Bolden of NASA reaffirm the goal of sending humans to Mars. He laid out 2030 as the date of a crewed surface landing and noted that planned 2020 Mars rover would support the human mission.
Humans have made giant strides over recent years with robot rovers and space probes. But there is much to learn about getting people to Mars safely -- and within reasonable cost.
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