The entire scientific world is currently debating on the best strategies for NASA’s future manned mission on Mars. However, a new book called Beyond Earth argues that setting up a human colony so close to Earth is much too challenging. Therefore, it suggests a different destination for a possible long-term human settlement: Titan, the biggest of the Saturn’s moons.
- Beyond Earth offers a new option for a human colony in space.
- The authors argue that both the Moon and Mars are uninhabitable.
- Titan, Saturn’s moon, has more suitable conditions for a human settlement.
This might sound like an insane proposal, since Saturn is quite far away and an unmanned spacecraft took seven years just to reach the planet. However, the book is not just a piece of science-fiction literature. One of the authors is Amanda Hendrix, a scientist from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Planetary Science Institute.
For the book, Hendrix collaborated with Charles Wohlforth, an environmentalist with valuable knowledge on how to make hostile conditions suitable for life. Together, they interviewed many scientists at NASA on the impacts extensive space travel has on humans or how technology might evolve.
What they obtained was a bundle of information on our present and future resources for space travel, combined with a little fiction. Also, the book is a bit easier to understand than any other series documenting the NASA attempts to develop a human exploration mission.
The two authors argue against the current destinations established by NASA for the manned missions. Both the Moon and Mars do not have atmospheres and are abundant in harmful variation. Therefore, any colonies might have limited access to the surface and would have to build everything underground.
On the other hand, Titan has an atmosphere which protects the surface from radiation. Also, it would defend any structures from collapsing. With enough protective clothing and an oxygen mask, humans might be able to venture on the surface of Saturn’s moon. Besides, they might even benefit from water supplies from the ocean hidden underground.
The authors admit that the distance might be a problem, but they say that those sent to explore Mars would face the same problems posed by long-distance space travel. However, the evolution of technology should allow for the exploration of more distant worlds.
Image Source: JPL – NASA