The Indian space probe, Mars Orbiter Mission has reached the red planet. This is a momentous day for the struggling nation, this shows that anyone can reach into space if they have the money and the determination to achieve greatness. Mars has always been a mystery ever since the first people to see the red planet through a telescope drew canals they thought they saw on the surface. They were wrong of course, but mars does have the valles marineris, a massive 5 mile deep canyon that crosses the martian surface. This is a giant geological feature and would make a massive ocean if it was filled with water a few miles deep. That is why we must go back to Mars, the rewards would be very great indeed. There may be no life on Mars, but surely we could mine this planet and gain mineral wealth to bring back to Earth. And it could be a stepping stone to the asteroid belt. where even more mineral wealth awaits humanity. Terraforming Mars would take a very long time, the info-graphic at the top of this post shows the process over a 600 year period.
But the sooner we start, the sooner we will make an impact on the red planet and further humanity`s foothold on space. If America will not conquer mars, then surely India can do it instead. Elon Musk of SpaceX is planning to use the Mars Colonial Transporter to eventually transfer passengers to mars: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Colonial_Transporter. This space ship will use a large water shield between the crew and space to block stellar radiation. This is an easy way to block radiation without a think lead shield. Since the crew will be in the ship for a long period, this is a necessary step against the dangerous radiation found outside the van allen belts around the Earth. The rocket needed to launch the spacecraft will be over 10 meters in diameter, this will necessitate a new larger launch platform to be constructed to accommodate it. The SpaceX South Texas spaceport could be a candidate for the launch, but there are no solid plans yet. All we have are plans and the successful spaceship one tests. But this is a good thing, we could see private enterprise moving into outer space. That is what we need to survive in the future. Someone has said that we must move 1 million people to Mars to ensure the survival of mankind in the event of a catastrophe that could befall the Earth and I agree with that sentiment.
Elon Musk has planned for a Martian colony that would house 800,000 people they would grow plants to eat using the plentiful sunlight on Mars and perform scientific experiments in a closed biosphere. One way to improve conditions on Mars would be to introduce engineered plants that could survive outside on the Martian surface and would convert CO2 into O2. This way the atmosphere would be slowly changed. Especially at the bottom of the Valles Marineris where the atmospheric pressure is greater. Constructing giant mirrors in orbit to melt and dissipate the water, CO2 ice polar caps would warm the planet considerably; this would then allow the water locked in permafrost to come free and fill the lowlands of Mars. Then sailing and boating could become a reality on another planet. Although the colonists would still need breathing gear. But not a whole spacesuit. Once the colonists could grow trees outside, and start grasslands, the dust storms would abate. A weather cycle including rain would green the planet and make it far more hospitable for human life. I am not sure if humans could ever go outside without a breathing mask, the atmosphere would still be thinner than Earth, but humans have climbed Everest without oxygen, but that is not the same as Mars.