Tiny White Dots On A Big Red Planet

1030 words - 5 pages

For many decades, life on Mars has been a mystery examined by Americans in the hopes of finding any evidence of other life forms, so that we wouldn’t feel so alone in this great big universe. Now, many people believe that no such life exists, or has ever existed, on Mars, and the investigations have evolved from: Is there life on Mars? to Can we ever be that life on Mars? With little to no evidence of life subsisting on Mars in the past, it is hard to tell if the planet can ever be altered to be able to sustain life, but we dream on anyway. Even if we can get to Mars sometime in the future, the astronauts there will have to face several problems, such as possible contamination by Earth bacteria, a need of supplies to support life in the colony, and health risks due to the long expeditions.

When man first visits Mars, they will most likely be collecting samples of rocks and dust, examining the terrain, and finding a place for a future colony, many things that are very similar to what the Curiosity rover is doing now. When they are out exploring, astronauts run the risk of exposing the Martian environment to hundreds of possible species of Earth bacteria. When in such an atmosphere, these bacteria may die, causing the astronauts to falsely believe that they have found Martian life forms; or they may survive by forming a parasitic relationship with and infecting any native life forms, much like how many Native Americans were wiped out by the colonization of Europeans. In the past, this issue has been solved by “baking out” rovers and killing any bacteria that may be living on them, but this process would kill any human exposed to it, and we need most of our bacteria to survive anyway. One way to resolve this problem that would work today would be to have more complex, sealed space suits to prevent any possible bacteria leakage.

Mars One, an organization that is working towards human habitation of Mars, wants to create a new home on Mars for astronauts. In order to do this, they will require sustainable sources of food, oxygen, and clothing, as well as an environmentally controlled shelter, none of which are readily available on Mars. It would be expensive and unrealistic to periodically send these things to the colonists, so they have to find another way to obtain everything that they can’t bring with them. They plan to bring their clothes, personal items, and settlement, which will most likely be sent and installed ahead of time by rovers. It will contain inflatable living components, which will consist of living quarters, workspaces, a common room, and a green room, which they will use to grow plants for sustenance. Before they arrive on Mars, Life Support Units inside landers will begin to supply the colonists with electricity, from thin, flexible solar panels; water and oxygen, obtained by heating water ice that is located in the nearby ground soil, which is then stored or split to create...

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