THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY IN SPACE
“LET US SACRIFICE OUR TODAY SO THAT OUR CHILDREN CAN HAVE A BETTER TOMORROW.”
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
“TWO OF THE MOST EXCITING QUESTIONS IN SCIENCE ARE: HOW DID LIFE ORIGINATE AND IS THERE LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS?”
Prof. Charles Cockell
“MARS IS THERE, WAITING TO BE REACHED.”
“FOR THE LONG-TERM SURVIVAL OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION, WE NEED TO DELOCALIZE OURSELVES AND AS OF NOW, MARS SEEMS A VIABLE OPTION.”
Srijan Pal Singh
MARS MISSION INDIA
Habitability on Mars
One unique aspect of the program is to encourage students enrolled in various courses to take up research and project works under the Mars Innovation Prototyping Contest and explore the scope of Food, Clothing, Buildings, Laws and other aspects of habitability on Mars. This campaign will be useful in encouraging curiosity, creativity and learning among students of various disciplines with an angle of extraterrestrial application, while also adding to the knowledge base while we are still on planet Earth. Few participants from India will participate in the MINAR and other such projects every year.
DESIGN FOR MARS
The surface gravity of Mars is 62% lower than that of Earth. This will affect the types of materials and fabrics used for clothing, as these will need to be able to withstand and protect from this gravitational change.
The average surface temperature is very frigid that is minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, a vital requirement of clothing items would be to regulate temperature and help humans stay warm.
The Red Planet has a rugged, inhospitable terrain that is covered in many different sized rocks, sand dunes, and boulders and hard-packed clay. Footwear that is durable in such conditions will have to be designed, both for indoor and outdoor use.
Mars’ atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s. The atmosphere of Mars contains more than 95 percent carbon dioxide and much less than 1 percent oxygen. Therefore, the clothing/headgears should take this into consideration.
BUILD FOR MARS
The same materials that we use to build houses on Earth would not provide effective protection on Mars. One way to overcome this is to create efficient building materials in a simulated Martian atmosphere on the Earth and to transport them to Mars, but this could prove to be wildly expensive and unreliable.
Concrete, the primary building block of modern construction on Earth, requires water mixed with cement and gravel. However, this concrete would not hold on Mars. Sulphur, which is present in abundance on Mars, may be used to bind the concrete together.
Its surface is rocky, with canyons, volcanoes, dry lake beds and craters all over it. Red dust covers most of its surface, which is essentially ground volcanic rock with a high iron concentration.
FOOD FOR MARS
Cooking on Mars will have to be done under low gravity conditions and in an enclosed environment for protection from harmful radiation.
Consumption of nothing but pre-packaged meals could be harsh on the colonists both physically and mentally. Therefore, eventually, ways to grow food on Mars will have to be explored. An important consideration here will be that the atmosphere on Mars contains more than 95 percent carbon dioxide and much less than 1 percent oxygen.
Experiments conducted by Dr. Wieger Wamelink from the University of Wageningen, Netherlands, have shown that earthworms can reproduce in simulated Martian soil. This shows potential for similar organisms to play a role in breaking down plant waste in the soil into nutrients which can help to sustain plant growth.
LAWS FOR MARS
According to the Outer Space Treaty, Mars belongs to everybody and nobody can own a celestial body. As humans start setting up colonies on Mars, new laws of the land will have to be created and refined.
Environmental and planetary protection laws and guidelines will also be required.
As companies prepare to mine asteroids and other bodies, the government will need to set up a licensing procedure. Asteroid mining licensing could pave the way in making it easier (or harder) to include planetary protection in the guidelines for building settlements on other worlds.
Laws for the colonists: Would they be legally called neo-colonialists or Alien? Would the juridical systems of the Earth apply to them as well or would they have their own governing laws?
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“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”
“We have made remarkable progress in the last 100 years, but if we want to continue beyond 100 years, our future is in space.”
“When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”
“Mars is the only place in the solar system where it’s possible for life to become multi-planetarian.”