Published on August 14, 2012, by admin in Science, Space. With the recent success of “Curiosity” at JPL I can’t help but ponder the possibility of living on another planet. How soon could this happen? Could it happen at all?
As I load up some of the latest imagery from Curiosity, I find my imagination wandering. I look at pictures of a dusty and red terrain littered with rocks and think to myself, this looks similar to some places on Earth and sometimes I almost forget these are images from another planet. It really is something amazing and for me it just throws my imagination into overdrive as I think about ways we could live, quite literally in another world.
There are many ideas that scientists have come up with that would make other planets like Mars a safe place for humans to live. Some suggest building a base camp that would be built much like a land based space station. Then, we find ourselves getting into deep conversations about how we could collect energy and how we would keep ourselves nourished. Other more extreme ideas suggest we terraform Mars. Terraforming is a hypothetical process that would involve humans changing the climate and other properties of Mars in order to make it suitable for life.
There are a few different ideas on how to terraform a planet like Mars and what makes this even more compelling is that many of the components necessary for life already exist in abundance on the red planet. One of the biggest issues with Mars is its lack of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Argon. The atmosphere of Mars is comprised of about 95% Carbon Dioxide. We would need to build up a stable thick atmosphere capable of protecting us from radiation and it must have a pressure and gas mixture that would allow us to breath. Changing a planet is a massive undertaking and leaves us to question, where would we gather the resources to accomplish such a feat?
Mars isn’t the only planet we have gazed upon with ambitious eyes. Why attempt to change an entire planet when there might be billions of other planets that have everything we need already set up for us? There have been many planets found to be be in what is called a “Habitable Zone”, which is a zone that isn’t too far or to close to the star that the observed planet is orbiting. What is even more exciting is that so many good candidates for possible habitation have been found, and in such a tiny fraction of the sky. This means there could be thousands and thousands of planets in this “Habitable Zone” with liquid water and other elements needed for life just waiting out there for us to explore.
Just imagine having all new continents to explore and new geological features never seen before. Perhaps there are multiple moons and mountains that reach miles into the sky, even higher than our own mount Everest. Who will move there first, and which country gets what land? It’s these kind of questions the we love to ask, and hopefully someday we can achieve what seems to be the impossible and live on another planet.