Landing humans on Mars will be the greatest accomplishment of human civilization in this century. However, we are not going to Mars to prove that we can actually attain such a feat. Instead, we are going to the red planet to unlock several potentials for mankind. One of these potentials is to test our powerful deep space technologies for crewed deep space exploration in the next century. But how will Mars even serve as a testing ground for our advanced deep space technologies? Continue reading to find out.
Why We Need to Get to Mars As Soon As Possible
The growth of human civilization is classified based on our ability to harness our Earthly energies for the advancement of our powerful technologies. Scientists specifically rate human technological progress on the Kardashev scale. As of 2023, humans are still at 0.7 on the Kardashev scale, implying that we are yet to fully harness the entire energy sources of our home planet.
Michio Kaku, an American theoretical physicist, and futurist revealed that humans will become a type one civilization in the next 100 to 200 years, type 2 in a few thousand years, and type 3 civilization in 0.1 to 1 million years. However, attaining such a milestone within the given period highly depends on if human growth in energy consumption increases to about 3 percent each year. From the look of things, human civilization is progressively advancing each year.
Space Agencies like NASA, CNSA, and many others knew that we need to reach Mars to meet some needs of our technological growth. Reaching Mars is the first bold step towards sending humans to other celestial bodies in the solar system. With the rate at which NASA accomplished its Apollo crewed landing in the 20th century, many space enthusiasts expected the space agency to send humans to Mars before the 21st century.
However, budgeting and other issues prevented the American space agency from attaining such a feat in the 20th century. But NASA is already preparing for its Artemis crewed missions to the moon, with the hope of establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon. The agency hopes that the success of its Artemis crewed missions will enable it to reach Mars in the next decade.
Even though we have successfully sent several rovers, landers, and orbiters to Mars, sending humans to the red planet as soon as possible will enable us to think ahead and test technologies that will take us deeper into the solar system and possibly escape the solar system in a few centuries from now.
How Mars Will Serve as a Testing Ground for Our Advanced Deep Space Technologies
If we must succeed in sending a crew to the moons of the gas giants and beyond, we must figure out how to sustain humans with our technologies on the surface of another planet. Among all the nearest planets to Earth, Mars is the most qualified because of its slight resemblance to Earth.
Despite having a hostile environment that can be dangerous to any form of lifeform known to mankind, Mars, still has gravity, a tiny atmosphere, evidence of ancient water, seasons, and other conditions similar to Earth. Since space agencies intend to send humans to Mars, they will not be in a hurry to return them back to Earth. This is because of Mars launch window opens for a mission approximately every 26 months.
Hence, the crew will have to get used to living on Mars until the next launch window opens for their return trip to Earth. NASA hopes to send the first crew to the red planet in the late 2030s or early 2040s. The first astronauts that will land on Mars are not going to stay idle waiting for their mission to end. They will surely commence to work and test several technologies that will enable humans to establish interplanetary trade and possibly reach the moons of the gas giant or escape the solar system.
Keep in mind that gravity on Mars is about 3.721 m/s², which is about – 62% lower than gravity on Earth. This implies that some technologies we use here on our home planet will not operate at their full efficiency on the red planet. The first Martian crew will be experienced in science and engineering to create sustaining ideas for technologies that make life more pleasant on Mars and beyond the red planet.
Some technologies that humans will work on include advanced propulsion systems to return home faster, high-tech spacesuits, inflatable heat shields to land astronauts on other planets, steady power supply, laser communication, advanced MOXIE instrument for oxygen, flying helicopters for navigating on the Martian surface and more.
Although NASA must have kept some of these technologies ready even before sending a human to Mars, the first Martian crew will still find a way to improve them with their experience on the red planet.
If we must grow as a civilization, we must figure out how to survive on other planetary surfaces with advanced technologies. With NASA’s plans to send the first crew to Mars in the late 2030s or early 2040s, we should be expecting the first Martian crew to test several technologies on the surface of the red planet in preparation for a turn trip to Earth and travel beyond Mars. What do you think about the idea of testing advanced deep-space technologies on Mars?