Colonization on Mars

Courtesy+of+Time+Magazine
Courtesy of Time Magazine

Courtesy of Time Magazine

Getty Images/Stocktrek

Getty Images/Stocktrek

Courtesy of Time Magazine

Taylor G. '17, Reporter and Social Media

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In a personal column published on CNN last Tuesday, Obama wrote he wants to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s. To do so, Obama says that NASA is now working with commercial partners to develop habitation systems that will keep humans alive on their way to Mars and during their stay. Barack Obama revived his six-year-old call for the US to send humans to Mars by the 2030s, a mission NASA has been slowly and quietly pursuing.
“Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we’re already well on our way” states President Obama. Only 18 of the 40 missions to Mars have been successful but humans have never landed on Mars before.
Last year alone, NASA discovered flowing water on Mars, evidence of ice on one of Jupiter’s moons and mapped Pluto in high-resolution.
Obama states that more than 1,000 private firms will help the U.S send people to Mars within the next 15 years. NASA has laid out detailed plans for the journey to Mars which has been proven achievable by 2030.
An 8step plan on the colonization of Mars has recently been released. The first step addresses building American technology to get astronauts to space. The second step is to build a bigger spacecraft that can carry multiple people, along with all the supplies for a three-year round-trip, including potential cargo items. The third step is to build bigger rockets; SpaceX is also developing the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is designed to launch heavier loads, including people, into space. The fourth step is to stick the landing, by understanding how friction, thermal effects and parachutes could provide the deceleration needed to land the spacecraft. The fifth step is to figure out the long-term habitation on a space station. The trip to Mars is a six-to-nine month journey so if something goes wrong Earth can’t immediately come to the rescue. The sixth step is to avoid deadly cosmic radiation (solar proton events and galactic cosmic radiation). The seventh step is to get to the moon. Sometime between 2018 and 2030, NASA plans to send missions on spacewalks in the region of space near the moon. These missions would be preparation for the epic voyage to Mars. The eighth step is to build housing on mars. Once on Mars explorers can’t return to Earth until Mars and Earth are in good alignment relative to the sun, which could take longer than a year. The return trip will be much shorter if the Earth and Mars are on the same side of the sun, as opposed to being on opposite sides.
President Obama and the NASA officials are all looking toward the ‘next frontier,’ with hopes and dreams that America will pave the way for future explorations and extended colonization on the red planet.
Obama has not yet elaborated on what a Mars mission would cost or how the United States would pay for it. But he did say it would require years of testing and education.

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