So yesterday at the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress Elon Musk finally speaks about his plans about colonizing the Mars, something that the whole world is waiting for. So let’s start with what are the main problems about sending the humans to Mars and how Elon Musk is planning to solve that.
The main problems with colonizing Mars are the rocket fuel consumption and the time required to reach up to Mars. Musk is planning to solving these main issues with his SpaceX program, instead of using the Kerosene the SpaceX rockets will use Methane engines which are higher in performance compared to standard kerosene engines. The second issue is the flight time, Today it takes almost 180 days for a NASA rocket to reach Mars and Elon Musk is planning to cover that distance in just 80 days.
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According to Musk, Mars is one of the best alternate home for the humanity. The early Mars was almost like our planet earth, it still has plenty of water frozen beneath the surface, the atmosphere is full with nitrogen, CO2 and other vital nutrients which are suitable for farming.
How will he do it?
Like we have seen in every single science fiction movie, traveling deep into space requires a space ship. SpaceX is building a giant rocket that will carry almost 100 crew members in a vessel. The vessel will be attached to a rocket with forty two methane powered Raptor engines. The rocket will carry the vessel to the earth’s orbit and then it will return to the surface. Once the rocket safely landed on the surface, it will relaunch with the fuel tanks. These fuel tanks will then attach to the vessel carrying the passengers, the process will be repeated until the spaceship will have the enough fuel required for the flight. The flight from Earth to Mars will take almost 80 days.
What about the landing?
As many of us already know, Mars has a thin atmosphere which creates problems in landing since there is very less friction. So how Musk is planning to solve it?
SpaceX rockets will use the heat shields on the vessel body that will create a mild friction with the thin Mars atmosphere. But the real braking power will come from the supersonic retropropulsion.
When will we can go to the Mars and how much it will cost?
According to Musk the first working commercial ship will be ready by 2024. Musk is planning to reduce the cost for a single passenger to almost $200000.
Is it safe?
So lets ask the real questions now, is it safe? What are the problems? How will we survive?
As I have already mentioned, Mars has a really thin atmosphere that means it can’t protect us from the direct sun radiations. To which Elon Musk said, radiation is still one of the biggest problems, but, it is not life threatening (let’s hope). The other big problem is our survival.
Mars doesn’t provide any food to eat or water to drink
Let’s not forget we can’t breath on Mars
The landing itself involves many risks
The gravity is one third (38%) of our planet earth
So no, it is obviously not a safe place for us to go and start making colonies. This is absolute madness, but then again, when that has ever stopped us humans from exploring the impossible.