Such a bold endeavor -
getting humans to another world - comes with a cornucopia of
nitty-gritty details to iron out. These details need to be set
before we can even begin to proceed with a manned mission.
For NASA's mission
Mars, this also entails the construction of a lunar space station
that'll serve as a jump-off point to the rest of the solar system.
He added that the Moon
would be the next logical step in this process.
Space exploration is more
than symbolic pretense. We want to stay on Mars and install a
colony. Of course, the eventual plan is to
terraform Mars, but that
could take thousands of years to accomplish - if it's at
Image credit: NASA
What we know is that the Red Planet's atmosphere is thinner than Earths, with some 95.32 percent carbon dioxide, 2.7 percent nitrogen, 1.6 percent argon, and about 0.13 oxygen, plus a bunch of other elements in even smaller amounts.
By contrast, the Earth's atmosphere has 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen. Water won't be much of a problem, though.
Is it possible to make oxygen from Mar's atmosphere?
NASA's had plans for this since 2014, when it first revealed the Mars 2020 Rover. The experiment, known as MOXIE, involves using the abundant carbon dioxide gas found on Martian atmosphere and turning it into oxygen.
The oxygen could then be harnessed and made available for breathing and also to make rocket fuel for return flights to Earth.
It may sound like science fiction right now, but lab experiments have shown that it's possible. That's why the Mars 2020 Rover mission is crucial.
Other efforts to make Mars habitable include plans of building a magnetic shield around the planet, similar to Earth's, building a nuclear reactor, as well as growing potatoes like in Matt Damon in The Martian.