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Question: will we be able to live on mars

Asked by lachy to Steven, Arti, Chris, Dustin, James on 11 May 2012. This question was also asked by shaunt, shaunm, michikomiyu, kingofhos, shadycactus6.

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  • Photo: Steven TingaySteven Tingay answered on 11 May 2012:

    Sure. It is possible, but will just be expensive. Humans have lived on the Moon, for a very short period. The problem is having somewhere to live, something to eat, air to breath and water to drink. If these things can be supported, humans can survive on Mars. Might also help if they had something to do! So, it is possible, but I wouldn’t be holding my breath to see it. It would be incredibly expensive. In the past, people have suggested terraforming – where you introduce plants, bacteria etc to create a denser atmosphere and gradually introduce life. Seems a bit far-fetched to me and environmental vandalism on a huge scale.

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  • Photo: Arti SinghArti Singh answered on 17 May 2012:

    Hi lachy, shaunt and shaunm,
    Don’t have anything to add here as Steven has covered it well.
    I do agree with Steven that trying to establish human life on Mars or other planets/moon is a bit far-fetched. Instead of trying to move to other planets, I think we would be better off looking after the planet that we have got, and making sure not to pollute the Earth more than we already have!

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  • Photo: Dustin WelbourneDustin Welbourne answered on 19 May 2012:

    One day, either by use of biospheres which are artificial habitats, or through changing the entire planet. But it is likely going to be a long time in the future. Maybe by the end of this century or the next we may have a small presence there.

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  • Photo: James ByrneJames Byrne answered on 20 May 2012:

    We will need to terraform the planet which would involve using bacteria so i think it would be pretty exciting to give it a try. I disagree with Steven that it would be environmental vandalism though, I think what we have done to this planet is much worse.

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Comments

  • Photo: DustinDustin commented on 12 May 2012:

    Hi lachy,
    One day we will be able to, but there are a lot of issues before getting there.

    As Steven has mentioned, terraforming is one proposal for making mars better for us to live upon.

    Another option is to create biospheres. Biospheres are sealed environments that carry out the same functions of what our environment does here on earth. Think of a football stadium, with a sealed roof, and we would live in there with plants and others things growing to keep us going. Connect a few of these together and it is possible, but it is very costly and there is still a lot of work to go to make it work properly.

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  • Photo: horselover101horselover101 commented on 14 May 2012:

    would you like to live on mars?

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    • Photo: DustinDustin commented on 14 May 2012:

      Hi Horselover101,

      If there was something set up so i could live on mars, then yes, i would love to go there and visit for a time.

      Another place in our solar system i would really like to go, would be Europa. Europa is a moon of Jupiter and is thought to be the best alternative place for life to exist in our solar system as it has huge oceans. But there are many problems with getting people to places like this, thats why robots are sent to these sorts of places.

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    • Steven commented on 14 May 2012:

      Oddly, not really. I’m quite happy here on Earth. If there was a particular reason to visit or live there, then maybe. Turns out I can do most of what I want from this planet. Actually, I think that is the key. Colonisation of other planets is so expensive, there has to be a really good reason for doing it. If it is to harness natural resources from solar system bodies, there may be better ways. I struggle to come up with a reason for living on Mars that can justify the expense.

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  • Photo: toastertoaster commented on 14 May 2012:

    As you said we need something to drink, apparently there is water on Mars. Frozen but still water, is this true? And if so, will we be able to thaw it?

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    • Photo: DustinDustin commented on 14 May 2012:

      Hi Toaster,
      Yes there is water on Mars, most of the time it is beneath the soil and frozen.

      If we could heat the atmosphere up, then certainly we could thaw it out.

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  • Photo: JamesJames commented on 14 May 2012:

    I disagree with Steven about terraforming being environmental vandalism but then I’m a bacteriologist and I like the idea of bacteria opening up another planet for human expansion to in the future. You know when we finally break this one.
    While difficult it is certainly possible as Mars has some very similar properties to Earth and has apparently similar soil, available water and an abundance of carbon dixoide in the atmosphere and frozen on and below its surface.
    While I don’t think we will be going there any time soon, it seems it is possible and may be something we are forced to look at quite a while down the track.

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