Some hardships of first settlers on Mars
Киселева М. С., Куимова М. В. Some hardships of first settlers on Mars // Молодой ученый. 2015. №11. С. 347-349.
The Men of Earth came to Mars.
They came because they were afraid or unafraid, because they were happy or unhappy,
because they felt like Pilgrims or did not feel like Pilgrims.
There was a reason for each man.
Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles
Earth and Mars are miraculously alike though Mars is two times smaller than Earth. They are both in the life belt (optimal distance from the sun), rotate and revolve on an axis. Earth tilts at a declination of 23.5 degrees away from the plane of the ecliptic; Mars’s declination is 25 degrees. A Martian day is only 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth. Earth’s year is 365 days while on Mars the year is almost double, at 687 “Earth Days”.
They both have:
- iron core and magnetic field which protects from space radiation;
- force of gravity (the gravity on Mars is only 38 % of that on Earth. A person who weighs 80 kg on Earth, would weigh only about 30 kg on Mars);
- nearly the same atmosphere (Mars’ atmosphere is 95 % carbon dioxide, 13 % oxygen and other gases. The atmosphere on Earth is more dynamic and composed of 78 % nitrogen and 21 % oxygen and other gases);
- four seasons (owing to their declination);
- similar land features (volcanoes, channels, canyons, mountains, valleys, rivers and oceans);
- roughly the same amount of dry land surface area;
- water (though water is frozen on Mars) [7, 9].
In 2024 according to the international project, the first humans are scheduled to be sent to Mars. The return trip is the most expensive, complex and risky part of a mission to Mars as it requires developing a rocket that is capable to carry enough propellant to fly to Mars and provide the return flight. Therefore, the creation of a permanent settlement on Mars is far less complex, though it is not easy.
It is planned that four people will make the flight to Mars to become the first humans to live on another planet. Later, other spaceships with people will fly, and by 2035 there will be 44 people living on Mars.
The selected astronauts should be over 18. There are multiple requirements for them. Among them, there are character features that will help them to survive together:
- resiliency (strong spirit, to be at your best when things are at their worst, ability to do everything you need even in the most critical situation, ability to trust and do everything you have to do under the control of another member of the team, ability to work purposefully and hard, a “Can do!” attitude, etc.);
- adaptability (ability to adapt to the situation and surroundings, etc.);
- inquisitiveness (ability to ask questions, willingness to share one’s knowledge, etc.);
- ability to trust (ability to believe in yourself and maintain this ability in others, etc.);
- resourcefulness (flexibility in problem-solving, not to be limited to addressing only those approaches that you have been taught, good sense of humor, cheerful character, be aware of different forms of creativity, etc.) .
The first colonists should study the planet and pave the way for future migration from the Earth. Despite the obvious similarities between the two planets, humans could not survive in the present environment on Mars. Moreover, a present flight to Mars is not possible owing to the hardships that are not overcome yet:
1. safety. We still have not created a system to protect the astronauts from cosmic radiation during the flight to Mars. The International Space Station (ISS) flies not very high above the Earth, at an altitude of about 350 km. Thus the Earth partially protects the station from radiation and the ISS has special screens delaying radiation;
2. impacts of long-duration space flights. Many months in space and microgravity lead to:
- muscle deterioration;
- losses in bone mineral and osteoporosis;
- the risks of kidney stones and bone fractures;
- changes in cardiovascular physiology;
- loss of blood volume;
- post-flight anemia (low red blood cell levels);
- disorientation and decreased neuromuscular coordination.
Space radiation can induce cataracts and cancer. High performance expectations, stress related to workload and long-term isolation cause stress, depression, intense anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, emotional instability, homesickness, interpersonal conflicts and social isolation.
3. life-support and survival system on Mars. (Who and how will they create the first modules on Mars capable of providing living for the settlers on Mars? Where will they get electricity, water, food?) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
On the whole, it is not possible to breath the atmosphere on Mars and it is very cold. Mars is located farther from the Sun than Earth. In winter, near the poles, temperatures can get down to -125°C while on a summer day near the equator the temperature is up to +20°C, but at night it can plummet to about -73°C. The atmosphere on Mars will not protect people from solar wind, other harmful rays and particles. So they will have to live in life support units and walk in space suits . Furthermore, doctors think that the life span of the first settlers on Mars, in those conditions, will hardly exceed 20 years.
Thus, a human mission to Mars is expensive, complex and physically demanding. Journey time to Mars would be around 200 days. The flight and life on Mars present a variety of tasks and risks that have to be solved before launching to the red planet.
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6. Mars One mission: a one-way trip to the red planet in 2024 http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/09/mars-one-mission-a-one-way-trip-to-the-red-planet-in-2024 (accessed May 23, 2015).
7. Phoenix Mars mission — Education — Mars 101 — Overview http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/mars101.php (accessed May 23, 2015).
8. What are the qualifications to apply? http://www.mars-one.com/faq/selection-and-preparation-of-the-astronauts/what-are-the-qualifications-to-apply (accessed May 23, 2015).
9. What do Mars & Earth have in common? http://www.ehow.com/info_10034859_mars-earth-common.html (accessed May 23, 2015).