The idea of humans visiting Mars or even living in Mars has long been fantasized by many. And since we are very good in ruining and exploiting our environment, Mars is becoming some sort of an escape route when the Earth finally says “Enough is Enough” and gets back at us. Which, I think will be happening anytime soon if we don’t change our acts.
On April 28, 2008, Dr. Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, was interviewed at The Space Show. The topic was about Man on Mars and he actually said that “It’s not a question of IF humans will go to Mars but a question of WHEN“. He pointed out some major problems that will be facing humans in mars:
- Micro Gravity which affects the immune system and alters bone growth.
- Galactic Space Radiation which will affect both humans and the equipments.
- Systems Reliability which is very critical since a Mars missions will take years.
- Mars Dust contains hexavalent chromium which is toxic.
He also pointed out funding problems since sending a human to Mars will take a lot of money and generating those funds could be a problem. We would have to think of a fundamental reason to convince the private sector to spend some money on the mission otherwise the public will be the one to shoulder all the costs. Dr. Bushnell stated that currently “What is safe is not affordable and what is affordable is not safe”.
He also said that the technology needed to safely send a human to Mars would take 10-15 years of research and another 10-15 years of development. So we’re looking at 30-35 years before a manned mission can set forth.
An alternative that they are closely looking into is sending nano bots instead of humans, he stated that sending nano bots to mars are less expensive and they are more reliable in sending large amounts of information.
He also talked about virtual reality. In the near future, with the advancement of technology, people will be able to virtually go to Mars and even pick up rocks and investigate them without all the dangers.
His solution. Send robots first and terraform the planet beform humans go.