On July 21 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to ever step foot on the moon. However, this isn’t the earliest period of history since the stars have piqued our interests; indeed, the ancient Greeks were also infatuated with the cosmos. Since then, our curiosity with the expanses of space have only grown. Mankind has dreamed of living beyond our Earth, but what would it take to actually make that dream a reality? What is needed to colonize Mars?
The first step would probably be to find a suitable way to breathe on planets unlike our hospitable home. If you tried to breathe the atmosphere on Mars, you would die a gruesome death as most of it is composed of carbon dioxide rather than oxygen. We could bring oxygen to Mars, however it isn’t the most economically feasible plan. Storage for oxygen would take up space on a spacecraft, which could be used for other utilities. It would also mean that we would need a cycle of recurring supply runs, which would burn a lot of fuel and other resources. According to Kristin Houser on Freethink, NASA has already created a potential solution to this problem. With a machine named MOXIE, NASA has developed a way to split carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide. However, for this to actually work, we would need a much larger MOXIE to create enough oxygen for the ability to create a hospitable environment for a sustained time. In any case, the prospect of finding a way to breathe on other planets is currently not probable but slowly becoming reality.
But how would we acquire food on Mars? Agriculture has been the basis of sedentary civilization since the Neolithic Period, but is it feasible on Mars? According to the American Chemical Society, “some of the nutrients plants need to grow and survive,” however “ because of Mars’s extremely cold conditions” it would be hard for most plants to grow in unaltered conditions. The University of New England states that the soil on Mars isn’t exactly “soil.” It doesn’t have any organic matter, which is needed for the classification of soil, and it is composed of mostly sand, meaning that it will have trouble holding water for plants to use. They also state that we would need to use artificial light because the atmosphere of Mars isn’t capable of protecting organic matter from the sun’s harmful rays. Of course, a more simple solution would be to just bring our own supplies. However, as said before, that comes with its own set of problems. Hopefully one day, our research and science improves to the point where a farmer on Mars is no longer seen as a fantasy but a reality.
Perhaps the colonization of Mars is still out of reach for the current era. However with time, humanity will be able to confidently leave Earth and ascend to a new home on Mars. And maybe one day, in the distant future, we will be set to conquer other heavenly bodies.