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The Gap Year Blog

Life on Mars: Are we Destined for the Red Planet?

9 Feb 2017 15:55 PM

If you've been near the internet of late, you'll have seen plenty about our neighbour Mars. Recently, Trafalgar Square was transformed into a Martian landscape, encouraging discussions about visiting the Red Planet; discussions that are becoming a reality...

The replica was revealed to be a promotional campaign for National Geographic’s documentary on Mars but what it has inspired carries much further, nodding to the global curiosity question: When will mankind walk on Mars for real?

NASA says it could be as soon as 2030. They, like many others, have seen the promise there and the possibility of sustaining human life on the red planet. Thanks to signs of ice and suitable temperature, Mars is the perfect destination for the next space endeavour and NASA are proposing that there may well be a colony waiting for us even before the first human sets foot on the surface of Mars.

“NASA is leading our nation and our world on a journey to Mars. Like the Apollo Program, we embark on this journey for all humanity. Unlike Apollo, we will be going to stay.” – NASA’s Journey To Mars Report.

Photo Credit: pixabay | NASA-Imagery

Yet, China claim that they will get man to Mars for as soon as 2020. With China’s space programme growing rapidly, they seem determined to prove themselves in the field of space travel. The competition is on, reminiscent perhaps of the 1969 race to the moon.

Of course, there will be some hurdles along the way, regardless of who gets there first. It has been discovered that long-term space travel can lead to fertility problems, cancer and dementia. This poses a massive problem for NASA, who plan to create a long-term settlement in the unfamiliar atmosphere on Mars. Other major issues include the problem of radiation and low gravity, which space exploration programmes are working to solve. However, it’s no longer a question of if mankind will ever set foot on Mars, it’s when.

“A disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.” – Stephen Hawking.

There may even be a human colony on Mars within our lifetimes, if everything goes to plan. If Hawking’s prediction is accurate and planet Earth faces disaster in the next 1000 to 10000 years, Mars will be our only solace. Now is the time to look away from our feet and up to the stars.

By Phoebe Dar - Voices for the Future

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!