The colonization of the Red Planet is not only a topic of science fiction films or books; it is becoming a reality. More and more people believe that the human life on Mars is just a matter of time. Elon Musk, who is one of adherents of the human colonization of Mars, has just announced plans of building a 80,000 city on the Red Planet in the 2020s. Plans are getting more realistic, but daredevils, who want to take part in the project, should be prepared to stay there for the rest of their lives.
Colonies on Mars
Not so long time ago, the colonization of Mars was unimaginable. Yet those days passed. Elon Musk, the world-known eccentric millionaire, announced that he was ready to establish a colony on the Red Planet. He revealed his revolutionary plans while he was giving a speech at the Royal Aeronautical Society. Not surprisingly, he underlined that he was ready for these plans even ten years ago, but he noted: “Then it seemed ridiculous because there were no rockets, no infrastructure and NASA was the only game in town - and it had no schedule for exploring Mars.”
Elon Musk, an engineer and a co-founder of PayPal, wants to establish a city on the Red Planet for as many as 80,000 adventurous people who are ready to change their lives. The exact number was evaluated by an analysis of possible threats. According to Elon Musk, the 80,000 population is enough to prevent a civil war and to secure gene pool. What is interesting is that only vegetarians are going to be considered during the recruiting process.
As it was specified by Elon Musk, whose Falcon 9 rocket delivers NASA cargo to the International Space Station, the cost of carrying explorers to the Red Planet is valued at approximately £300,000, or roughly $500,000, per person. Even though it might sound utopian, the new futuristic city on Mars is thought to be the beginning of a new civilization.
But not only Elon Musk is a visionary. Mars One, which is a private spaceflight project founded by Dutch businessman Bas Lansdorp, also plans the Mars settlement. The One Mars project plans to send first daredevils in 2023. Yet the mission is believed to be suicidal. The future astronauts will be chosen in the first half of 2013. The funding of the future expedition will be obtained through the global reality-TV media event, according to Nobel Prize-winning physicist Gerard 't Hooft who is much involved in the project.
Challenges on the way to Mars
The Mars settlement and earlier the journey itself to the Red Planet are challenging not only technologically, but biologically as well. A journey to Mars will be full of challenges including mechanical and physical obstacles, the erosion of bone mass, problems with concentration and others. While studies are being conducted to eliminate or at least minimize the aforementioned challenges, still people who will be sent to start a new civilization on Mars must be prepared for anything.
Despite all known challenges which might be faced by the future astronauts, visionaries are strongly convinced that everything is possible, including the success of the Mars settlement. Certainly Elon, Musk, Eric Anderson and other adherents of the Mars settlement are exceptional as they believe in dreams. Eric C. Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures, underlines that taking into consideration the current level of tech progress, a space hotel will be built in about 10 years and the space tourism will enter its golden era.
Sigourney Weaver once said: “I don't really see science fiction as fiction. I can imagine colonies on Mars and everything.” Others including businessmen, academics and common people can imagine that too. And everything starts with a dream, even the Mars settlement.