Home Sweet Mars?

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Home Sweet Mars?

Smith Bradshaw

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Mars. Barren, dusty, and distant. With a poisonous atmosphere, sub-zero temperatures, and an average distance of 158 million miles from earth, the Red Planet seems far from habitable. However, scientists are beginning to realize that we could possible establish a colony on Mars in the next 10-15 years, capturing our imaginations and dreams. Even though there are some skeptics of the successfulness of a colony, it is becoming clear that our planetary neighbor is the new Plymouth Rock, and that our future may lie on Mars.

If our future does lie on another planet, Mars is the ideal candidate. According to the website, “nss.org”, the Red Planet has many things a self-sustaining colony would need, such as metals and even water (in the form of ice). Plus, Mars’ atmosphere is thick enough to keep harmful levels of UV rays, which could be very bad for people on Mars, out. A settlement on Mars will also prove to be very helpful in the long run, too.

In the future, we will probably have some very pressing issues, such as lack of space, but Mars could be the cure for these problems. As 7th grader Marina Mitchell put it, “Colonizing Mars could allow us to have more space and grow.” She says that the Red Planet, if we could create a settlement there, could allow humanity to avoid overpopulating Earth, which would allow humanity to continue to function “normally” and flourish.

Still, not everyone is convinced that a Mars colony is worth the risk, or even possible. Most students say that they would not want to try to establish a Mars colony, adding that attempting to create a settlement there does come with some risks. Iulia Berianu, a 7th grader, affirmed, “Mars is not meant for humans. There is poisonous air and you can’t even cultivate food on Mars.” However, the Red Planet’s atmosphere is composed of carbon-dioxide (CO2), which plants use to produce food and grow.

So, the barrier of renewable food on a Mars colony is overcomeable, but what about a constant source of oxygen? According to futurism.com, NASA is launching a rover to Mars in 2020 which will contain a prototype that can convert CO2 into oxygen, which could provide future Mars colonists with a constant source of oxygen to breathe. This would make a self-sufficient colony possible, since a colony would have to get constant shipments of oxygen otherwise.

To conclude, with the possibility of colonizing our planetary neighbor on the horizon, it is vital that we create a settlement there in the future. Not only is a Mars colony possible, but it will also solve problems we might have here on Earth in the future. So, will our generation be the first to leave our green Earth and endeavor into the stars to colonize other planets? Only time will tell.

Image courtesy of thejetstreamjournal.com