Questions Most People Ask When it Comes to Mars
Mars, one of the planets that are considered to be similar to Earth, is considered a hot topic that is still discussed by many scientists and also that makes most people curious. Scientifically, this planet is considered to be habitable in the future for humans, but is it possible? Even though it’s still uncertain, researchers continue to monitor and study in more depth of this particular planet. In fact, one way is by sending robots to see the situation virtually on Mars.
The Perseverance owned by NASA, the fifth robot that landed on Mars in February 2021, is an optimal step in an effort to find a new place to live for humans outside the Earth. Not only will this robot carry out research, the rover robot will also carry many human names from Earth for the first time. Last September 2019, NASA launched the Send Your Name to Mars program. Their names will be engraved on a plate mounted on the Perseverance rover robot. Close to 11 million names worldwide were carried along that comes from those who registered on the NASA site Send Your Name To Mars. Those who registered, got a token in the form of a boarding pass, quite similar to an airplane flight ticket.
Hence, one of the many questions about Mars that people are eager to know about, how long does it really take to go to Mars? The answer depends on the exact positions between Earth and Mars, and also the advanced technologies that are used to reach the planet.
How Long Does It Take to Go to Mars
In the past, Mars was actually a trip that could take between 6 to 8 months, or known as the cross-orbit travel. Theoretically, the distance covered varies from 55 million km to 400 million km. That’s even longer than it would take astronauts to reach the International Space Station. However, researchers are now coming up with some ideas for robots and possibly humans in the near future to travel to Mars in just 3 months.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk, an architect and science education enthusiast, launched the red Tesla Roadster, his own personal car which he sent into space on the inaugural flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket. Thus, this Tesla Roadster and Starman (a puppet passenger) in SpaceX suits approached Mars in October 2018. Very cool, right? Well, just a luxury car can go to Mars, do you think humans can too?
Can You Go to Mars and Come Back?
For almost 6 decades, humans have flown rockets to outer space. As a result, dozens of great astronauts have lost their lives. Therefore, this death rate will continue to increase in the future when NASA is going to involve humans to travel to Mars.
According to scientists, astronauts in their journey to Mars will spend many months in a cloistered capsule travelling a path that was unknown and never been surpassed before. Once they successfully reach the planet, their next task will take them to the test. Their real challenge is to survive Mars extreme atmosphere, especially from the many dangers of radiation.
Not only that, the return trip to Earth from Mars will face some challenges. The availability of fuel will be the most crucial issue, especially for the return journey. Since, it has to use fuel from the resources on Mars. But, this problem is still being investigated by experts.
Can Humans Survive on Mars?
Apart from the Moon, Mars is also often mentioned as the future home of human mankind. Given its location is not too far away, and the conditions are much safer than other planets, it’s no wonder that many space agencies, mainly NASA, are competing to send their robots to explore Mars. However, consider the dangers that can occur on Mars:
- Dust Storm— Even though it looks calm, Mars actually holds many dangers. An annual dust storm can cover the entire planet with dust for weeks, and make it difficult for sunlight to reach the surface of Mars.
- The Cold Weather— Mars temperature is very different from Earth. The distance between the Sun and Mars is farther away, which means Mars is much cooler. The average temperature on Mars is around -76°F.
- Mental and Physical Health— Apart from radiation, the process of moving from two very different gravitational fields, Earth to Mars, will affect spatial orientation, balance, mobility, and more. Being in a dark, lonely and uninhabited space, away from family and friends for several months or years, is something that is mentally difficult for astronauts to get through.
Can You Breathe on Mars?
Unlike Earth, the atmosphere on Mars can be very hostile to humans. The atmospheric pressure and carbon dioxide on Mars is very low, which controls 95 percent of the atmosphere, making it difficult to breathe. Because the conditions are quite extreme, to be able to survive on Mars, you don’t only need super thick and warm clothings, but also exclusive clothes. Without Mars clothings you will only survive for about two minutes.
Has Anyone Visited Mars?
A simple answer is, NO, not yet. No human has actually set foot on Mars, only by fly-bys though. Even though there were several successful fly-bys in the past, the moon was NASA’s first priority. The first Mars human/crew landings could occur sometime in the 2030s. The mission this time is reported to be bringing in one figure of a young woman as the first name to Mars, Alyssa Carson.
The high potential risk that astronauts might face when traveling to Mars does not in fact discourage Carson. In fact, she admits that she remains enthusiastic about traveling to Mars, even though the mission can never bring her back to Earth.
How much fuel is needed to reach Mars?
Ideally, the amount of fuel needed could possibly triple or more to travel to Mars, which consists of loads of gallons and tons of emission. The mission to outer space leaves many challenges. One of them is the mass weight of the rocket. The more mass added to the rocket, the more difficult it will be to get the payload where it is intended. One approach to this problem is that future missions should not bring fuel to Mars. On the other hand, humans must produce fuel from the resources available on Mars.
Despite its treadable surface, Mars is not really an ideal future home for humans. Humans may be able to travel and even live there, but still we need more preparation and advanced technologies before deciding to move there.