After the historic moon landing mission in 1969, everyone began to see the possibilities of reaching Mars and beyond before the 21st century. Despite the success of this Apollo moon landing mission, we are yet to send humans to Mars until this day. But if we could send astronauts to the moon in 1969, what is actually stopping us from taking another giant leap for mankind?
This article will enlighten you on various factors delaying our journey to a new space world and possible solutions to these challenges. Let’s dig in.
Why are we afraid to Send Astronauts to Mars?
Instead of reaching a new space world as predicted in the mid-20th century, we built an advanced space station with a robotic arm and put this technology in low earth orbit. Countries that contributed to the success of this project named the station, the International Space Station (ISS).
This sophisticated technology was launched into space in 1998. In November 2000, the first batch of Astronauts visited the ISS. Since then, Astronauts have continued to visit the space station for scientific experiments. Scientifically, we are not afraid to take this giant leap for humanity. However, reaching a new space world like Mars requires a lot of planning. We are yet to reach Mars because of the following reasons.
1. Sophisticated Space Technologies
In the early 1960s, President Kennedy announced his plans to send NASA astronauts to the Moon. His plans were accomplished 9 years after this announcement when 3 Astronauts landed on the lunar surface. Without sophisticated space technologies provided for apollo astronauts, this mission could have failed.
But if we could design sophisticated space Technologies for manned missions to the moon, what is stopping us from making similar technologies for Mars missions?
Mars is not in any way close to the earth. So we must be technologically advanced to send astronauts to the planet and return them safely. However, with the recent improvement in space Technologies, we may eliminate this challenge anytime soon.
Unlike the moon with an average distance of 384,400km from earth, Mars has an average distance of 269.64 million kilometers from earth. Since the moon is closer to earth, it will take up to 3 days to travel from earth to the lunar surface.
However, Mars is millions of miles into deep space. It will take us up to 7 months to reach Mars with our most sophisticated space technology. So distance is actually another factor to consider.
The financial budget plays a vital role in reaching a new space world. If the government cannot make enough financial provisions for a manned mission to Mars, NASA and other government-owned space agencies will never attempt to reach the red planet.
However, other privately funded space agencies, such as SpaceX, still have the potential of sending humans to Mars. Keep in mind that the financial budget played a great role in manned missions to the moon in the 1960s. To be specific, NASA spent nearly $28 billion ($280 billion, considering today’s inflation) on the Apollo space program.
So if we intend to reach a new space world, the space agency involved needs to make a higher budget for this historic space trip.
4. Sustaining the Astronauts
Keeping the astronauts Alive is the most important part of this space trip. It doesn’t make sense that we send astronauts to Mars and allow them to die out there. Before any space agency considers sending astronauts to a hostile planet like Mars, they must figure out how to sustain them during the space trip.
SpaceX, NASA, and other space agencies that intend to send astronauts to Mars are already working on various research programs that will aid in sustaining astronauts on the red planet. These research programs consist of habitable domes, growing foods, provision of water, and other essential needs of humanity on Mars.
Based on the progress made so far, we could see the possibilities of these space agencies reaching Mars before the mid of 21st century.
5. Surviving in the new space world
Since no one has ever visited another space world, we are yet to tell how living species will react to the new environment of Mars. Keep in mind that Mars is uninhabitable to sustain humans. Unlike the earth, Mars has a tiny atmosphere that exposes humans to solar radiation.
Aside from solar radiation, Mars’ hostile environment makes it impossible for humans to survive without advanced spacesuits and highly protective domes. We need to figure out how to protect lives on Mars before sending astronauts to the red planet.
6. Other factors
Aside from the problems listed above, space agencies will surely experience other complex challenges during space trips to a distant planet like Mars. Any space agency intending to send humans to Mars must create great plans to sustain them on the red planet.
Are we going to remain in low earth Orbit forever?
The answer to this question is NO. At the beginning of the 21st century, more countries and individuals developed an interest in exploring a new space world. Because of our limitations in building highly advanced space technologies, several countries came together to construct the International Space Station.
This station serves as a research facility for astronauts in low earth orbit. However, many people are still interested in sending humans beyond the ISS.
Elon Musk is one of the geniuses that saw the need to make humans multi-planetary Species. His desire to accomplish this goal pushed the rocket man to start up SpaceX, an American Aerospace Company in 2002. Currently, the company has only been in operation for two decades.
However, SpaceX has designed sophisticated starships that have the potential of sending humans to Mars and beyond. Elon Musk has remained determined to send the first batch of Astronauts to Mars before the end of this decade.
Part of his ambition is to send 1 million tons of cargo to Mars to build the first sustainable city for humanity. If he succeeds in making this ambition a reality, humans can break out of their birth planet to become multi-planetary species.
Aside from the futuristic plans of Elon Musk, other space agencies such as NASA, CNSA, ESA, and more are already working on sending astronauts to the red planet before 2050. With the progress made so far, we could see the possibility of humans living on Mars before 2100.
With this accomplishment, we will set a smooth platform for the next generation of astronauts and scientists to begin their journey into exploring other space worlds within and outside the solar system.
We have come too far to call it a quit. The first manned mission to the moon opened the gateway for humans to explore other space worlds. With the efforts made so far, we could see the possibilities of landing on Mars and other space worlds in the nearby future. Do you think we can ever make this vision a reality in the century?