The Colonization of Mars – Who’s Doing It, How and Why?

Free Essay Database Online

The Colonization of Mars – Who’s Doing It, How and Why?

The Colonization of Mars:

Who’s doing it, how and why?

Connor? ?McCampbell

AP? English Literature and Composition 2A

Mrs. Deegan

13? January ?2016

The Colonization of Mars:

Who’s doing it, how and why?

As the most recent elections approached, plenty of people warned they would be moving to Canada either joking or serious. I had a much better idea. No crazy politician could threaten my peaceful isolation there. Unfortunately, I found I was about a year too late to apply for a life on Mars. Still, the idea of going to Mars is exciting; every mountain I scale, I would be the first to reach the top, every canyon I explore, I would be the first to reach its floor, and in a thousand years, the history of an entire world would have my name on the first page. It is dreams like this that fuel passion and creativity in NASA, SpaceX, and Mars One, as they begin their long journeys towards putting man on Mars.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has set its sights on Mars. NASA doesn’t actually plan to create a permanent settlement, but to put people on Mars and develop technologies that would allow for Martian settlements to be made. NASA has already proven of the great benefits to all areas of society that space exploration can bring with the development of satellite telecommunications, GPS, weather satellites, solar panels, and even water?purification systems. In addition to scientific advances like these NASA declares motivation to go to Mars is to, "discover life, identify resources, foster economic growth, inspire and educate, protect ourselves from space-based threats, and leave a better future for the next generation,” ("Benefits Stemming from Space Exploration").

Before reaching Mars, NASA has created three phases for developing and demonstrating capabilities in incremental steps: Earth Reliant, Proving Ground, and Earth Independent. NASA is currently working in the Earth Reliant phase, which should last until the mid 20s. This phase takes place mostly in research aboard the International Space Station focused on advancing human health and performance and technologies necessary for deep-space, long-duration missions. This research will further human health and behavioral knowledge, 3D printing, material flammability tests, extravehicular operations, advanced communications systems, environmental control and life support systems development, and in-situ resource utilization (the collection, processing, and use of materials found in space that would otherwise have to be supplied from Earth). After completing the Earth Reliant phase, NASA will move onto the Proving Ground phase, working on tasks in a deep space environment or cislunar orbit (orbit around the moon) to develop capabilities necessary for a manned exploration of Mars. Work in this phase consists of a series of Exploration Missions (in 2018) as integrated tests of the SLS (Space Launch System) and Orion (a spacecraft), the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (in 2020) which will collect and retrieve a boulder from an asteroid to be investigated and sampled, a deep-space habitation facility for long-duration systems testing, improving autonomous operations, and concepts to minimize resupply needs. Finally, the Earth Independent phase will build off of research in the previous two to send humans to Mars and develop technologies and infrastructure for people to live their independently in the future. This includes using transit and surface habitats to support life for years; using Martian resources to create food, water, fuel and building resources; and creating communications relay systems with only 20 minute delays. NASA currently reveals no specific outline for what its eventual trip to Mars will look like, instead stating they’re focusing on strategic investments, and as capabilities are proven, NASA will further define future goals and missions ("NASA's Journey to Mars").