How do you like the idea of going on a Mars holiday? You can take selfies with the unique red ground as your background. You can tour the different craters and mountains that can be found there. Those scenarios seem like they came from a science-fiction movie but are they really so far fetched? With the technology that is now available to us today, it is entirely possible to establish a colony on Mars and that is going to happen, not in the distant future but within this generation, perhaps even within a decade from now.
The technology to put people on Mars and to bring them safely back here is already available and has been the case for a long time. It is just a matter of changing and adopting existing technology and developing equipment that can withstand long-term space travel. The space technology which brought Americans to the Moon and back has improved a great deal now. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is so confident about their capability of putting men on Mars that they have even published a paper outlining how they envision being on the red planet (NASAs Journey). Mars is the ideal target for colonization because it has been shown that it once had a climate that was comparable to the Earth, one which could possibly have supported life. Studying Mars can reveal a lot about our own planet. What needs to be developed now is the tech that would support human life during the long journey. The astronauts who will be undertaking the mission also need to be properly prepared for the rigors of long-period space travel as that is a problem that has not been faced by the agency before.
NASA has already outlined the next steps towards realizing the goal of getting to Mars. They are focused right now on conducting missions in deep space and then retrieving the astronauts and allowing them to return to Earth within a few days (Mahoney). This can be tricky as most of the missions in the past were conducted near Earth. By doing missions in deep space, they can measure the capability of the technology in operating in areas were the possibility of Earthly intervention is remote. The modern missions are in preparation of possible missions in the future which will be run as completely Earth-independent. Those missions can be run to check one of the moons of Mars for example. For those missions to be successful, a colony must be established on Mars first where the exploration of the space around that planet can be run.
Although most of the technology needed for establishing a Mars colony is existing, there is still a great deal that needs to be developed. There are already have plans for the food of the crew during the journey and once they have arrived on Mars (NASA Facts, Cosmic Cuisine) although these ideas have not really been tested on an actual long-range space journey. Scientists are rethinking of ways that food can be packaged and stored. They also have plans on how gardens can be grown once on Mars and which plants are best to grow using hydroponic technology.
A Mars colony is going to be established soon. NASA is really confident that they can reach the red planet in the next few years. The colony might not match what is depicted in science fiction stories but that does not take away from the greatness of the accomplishment once that has been achieved. There will be a Mars colony soon because the technology and the willingness is there and they’re already working on it.
NASAs Journey to Mars: Pioneering next Steps in Space Exploration. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2015. https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/journey-to-mars-next-steps-20151008_508.pdf. Accessed 29 Jan. 2020.
Mahoney, Erin. “NASA Releases Plan Outlining Next Steps in the Journey to Mars.” NASA, NASA, 2015. www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-releases-plan-outlining-next-steps-in-the-journey-to-mars. Accessed 29 Jan. 2020.
“NASA Facts, Cosmic Cuisine.” National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2005. https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/137398main_FS-2005-10-055%20Cuisine_1.pdf. Accessed 29 Jan. 2020.