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Bret Gashler

Professor Strickland

English 1010

13 February, 2017

The Colonization of Mars

From the beginning of time progression has been a hallmark of the human race.

Learning, growing, improving, and exploring the unknown have been an innate human craving

helping propel humanity to our current state. This has been both a blessing and a curse as we

have spread across the planet. Humanity has grown exponentially with approximately 7 billion

people on earth today; however, if scientists projections are correct, Earth can only sustain

around 9 to 10 billion people which could be reached by year 2100 (Wolchover). This begs the

question, what do we do as we near maximum occupancy on this planet? One possible

solution to our growing population issue also serves to satisfy the human cravings of learning,

growing, improving, and exploring the unknown through visiting space and attempting to inhabit

another world.

On July 20th, 1969, President John F. Kennedy sent three astronauts to the moon. That

great feat has since caused companies like Mars One, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin

to set even loftier goals to travel even further. One of the shared goals of these companies is to

journey to Mars in hopes to establish a human colony, making Mars the first colonized planet

outside of Earth. Whichever company accomplishes this first would make history and open door

to greater possibilities for space travel. One of the most ambitious of these companies, Mars

One, claims, The Mars One crews consist of people that want to settle on Mars absen[t] of a
return mission. Their volunteers, which number about 100, plan only to travel to Mars, no

return ticket (Mars One).

The feasibility of these companies traveling to Mars is still very suspect. NASA states

that, Engineers and scientists around the country are working hard to develop the technologies

astronauts will use to one day live and work on Mars which means that the technology

needed to reach Mars has not been established. NASA also has plans to send humans to Mars,

but they dont expect that to happen until the year 2030 or so (NASA). Traveling through space

is a very difficult thing to undertake and cannot be taken lightly. If the astronauts that are sent to

Mars are killed because of poor planning or an unexpected accident, future space travel would

most likely be hampered or even put on hold.

There are many challenges that need to be overcome for the travel to Mars and its

subsequent colonization to be successful. Mars is extremely cold with nighttime temperatures

that reach below -70 degrees Celsius. To combat these harsh conditions the astronauts must have

environmental suits that not only keep them warm, but provide oxygen, protect from high levels

of UV and cosmic radiation, and allow for easy on and off access. To sustain life the astronauts

would also need a way of growing food and extracting clean drinking water from the

atmosphere. Even if solutions are found for all of these issues, the travel from Earth to Mars

would need to be accomplished first. The distance from Earth to Mars is approximately 250

million miles, which would take approximately six months of space travel (Walker).

Currently most companies, including SpaceX, are working on an effective way of liftoff

and landing. SpaceX currently have three rockets that are in production, the Falcon 9, Falcon

Heavy, and the first private spacecraft to the space station, Dragon. These are all precursors to

the expected spaceship that SpaceX hopes to transport astronauts to mars with. The hopes of this
happening are high as Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, expects to have manned space travel

to Mars as early as 2022 (Woolf). This is a very ambitious goal as it is at least 8 years sooner

than NASAs estimates.

No matter who is the first to place a human on Mars, or when it happens, it will be

revolutionary. It will open up a world of possibilities and ideas that may not have seemed

possible before and the human race will graduate from being just a single planetary species to a

multi-planet species. As long as there is continued interest and at the rate that technology is

moving there is a good chance that we will all see this within our lifetime.

Works Cited
Mars One. "Mission Feasibility - Mission." Mars One. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.

NASA. "NASA's Journey to Mars." NASA. NASA, 1 Dec. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

Walker, Robert. "Ten Reasons NOT To Live On Mars - Great Place To Explore." Science 2.0.

N.p., 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 13 Feb. 2017.

Woolf, Nicky. "SpaceX founder Elon Musk plans to get humans to Mars in six years." The

Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2017.