Now that there are only a couple of days left for the sign up, make sure you think twice before going to Mars because there are some dangers there that should not be taken lightly. Earth is not that easy to live on with the numerous diseases and elements that can kill you. And it’s our home. It’s tough to say what will be waiting on a completely foreign planet.
- There are a few days left to sign up for NASA’s program, which might include a trip to Mars
- NASA plans the launch in the 2030s
- PROs: existing water source under the Martian surface, and the chance of a lifetime
- CONs: space travel, radiation risk, landing, poisonous atmosphere, atmospheric pressure, dust, and drastic temperatures
A planetary scientist from the SETI Institute, Pascal Lee, has offered a bit of a wake-up call for those still interested on signing up for NASA’s program, which could end with a trip to the Red Planet. It sounds exciting, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will have a place in history. The first person to step on Mars might start preparing a phrase to match Neil Armstrong’s.
NASA is planning a manned mission to the Red Planet in the 2030s, with Mars One and SpaceX even hoping to have civilians there sooner. Numerous names have been given to the people who will venture that far. They range from “explorers” and “heroes”, to “test subjects” and “lab rats”, so it’s certainly something to consider well. While it seems like the trip of a lifetime, there are too many risks to count.
First off, the actual trip. Those embarking on the journey will have to travel for around 6 months, hurdling through space in closed confinement and with limited supplies. It has been established that the human body can withstand that sort of exposure by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS). On the other hand, the ISS is regularly resupplied, and they’re not too far away from home in case of emergency situations. At least, they’re obviously closer to our planet than Mars is.
If they pass the long trip in good health however, they will still have to deal with the landing. While NASA has managed to land small rovers across the red rocky grounds, a manned spacecraft will require much more delicacy. And, even if the landing is a success, there are still a couple of more factors that are just waiting to kill you.
According to Lee, one of the first concerns would be radiation. Most of the Mars’ atmosphere is lost, which will expose humans to the solar and cosmic radiation without protection. Both the space and sun will likely cause severe effects. In fact, spacesuits or rovers will not be the greatest ways to avoid the damage. According to former NASA physician, Jim Logan, astronauts will need to live around 9 feet underground to escape it.
Furthermore, the atmosphere itself is highly toxic to human beings. There is a very high concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) that will place astronauts under the constant threat of suffocation. One malfunction of the oxygen supply, and they might suffer a very tragic fate and slow demise.
Another mystery is the dust on Mars. It has been shown to be much finer than the dust found on Earth, which could make humans highly vulnerable to choking on it. NASA stated that The Martian got at least one thing wrong. It’s not the 60-miles-per-hour dust storms that are dangerous, it’s the dust itself. There’s no knowing how solar panels or human lungs will react to it.
The temperature will also be a problem. If the heating system fails, astronauts will be subjected to temperatures that range between 80o Fahrenheit (27o Celsius) to -225o Fahrenheit (-143o Celsius).
Lastly, the atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet so very low that it will basically evaporate all the water in your body if you’re not in a well pressurized suit. That could mean a very slow, very painful death at the slightest misstep.
In spite of the warnings, it’s clear that some are still eager to venture beyond the limits of our planet to explore outer space. And that’s the only good part. It’s a chance of a lifetime, an opportunity to put your name in history. However, now it depends if it’s worth the cost. It will take a lot to move away from the warm yet deadly embrace of Earth with all its perils and venture into an even more dangerous and unknown world.
Image source: nightsky.ie