Mars mission a possibility in 2018. Will this happen or is this a pipe dream?

Planet Arrrakis. Could we visit a planet like this in the future?
Planet Arrrakis. Could we visit a planet like this in the future?

There is an ambitious plan to send colonists to Mars to begin the conquest of the red planet. I am not sure if this is a good idea, it would take years to get to the red planet and the radiation you would be exposed to on the way is extreme considering the activity of the Sun. In the novel “Red Mars” the spaceship had a huge tank of water that provided radiation shielding for the crew on the long journey. Once they got to Mars and landed, they could build shelters in caves or on the surface and cover them with dirt and rock to provide shielding against the radiation from the Sun. But what would they eat? A comprehensive system of hydroponics and seeds would need to be carried along to support the crew that made the long journey to our next door neighbour. I am excited about this even if it does not actually go ahead. This is something that humanity needs to further our scientific knowledge. That is something that could allow the expansion of our race out into space away from Earth. Mars is not as far away as the moon Europa. Europa has a giant ocean under a few miles of ice, this could harbor life on the bottom; black smokers could be a home for many forms of life that thrive around the heated water jetting out from the moons crust.

Mars is not as active as Europa, it does not have the massive gravitational pull of the Jovian gas giant pulling on it. But there are signs that liquid water once flowed on the surface of the planet. This means that if we dig down under the surface we could find ice that can be thawed to provide water for growing food and drinking as well as splitting into oxygen and hydrogen. But moving some people to Mars would be very expensive indeed, and I have already mentioned the radiation they would be exposed to. But we are supposed to forget about this possibility and just discount it without even trying? I believe that we should try something new and send someone to Mars. They will be more mobile than a rover and they can grow their own food. At least Mars is not as hellishly hot as Venus, that planet is about 460°C (860° F, at the surface and the pressure is the same as it is a kilometer under the ocean. This means that any spacecraft you send there needs to be strong enough to withstand the pressure. Going to Mars in 2018 seems like a pipe dream, but this could be a reality after all. If we had colonists on Mars that could send back updates from the surface of another planet, this could be the greatest achievement of humanity. A necessary stepping stone on the way to the outer planets like Jupiter and Saturn.

It would be a very long time before we could travel to another star system though. The Voyager probe is travelling away from us at about 35,700 miles per hour and it would have take 75,000 years to get to Alpha Centauri if we had sent it there instead of out into deep space. This makes it clear how far away the other stars are from us. But the Voyager probe is only expected to survive until 2025 and it is said that the true edge of the solar system is two light-years away from Earth. This journey will take the Voyager probe 40,000 years. We might not even be around then. Let alone when it is expected to pass by another star system 299,000 years from now. But if you are only travelling at 35,000 miles per hour, that is the time it takes to cover interstellar distances. I hope that someday we can travel to another star system and see a truly alien planet with our own eyes. That will not happen for a very long time yet, not unless we can invent some sort of technology that can allow us to travel at much faster speeds through space without endangering the crew. They would need supplies as well as the ability to grow their own food on the way. Artificial gravity of some sort would also be needed to keep then in shape on such a long journey through open space, far from the comforting blue sphere of Earth. They would be so far from Earth that their messages could take years on end to reach Earth and then they would have to wait years for an answer, whilst they accelerate further and further away from home. They would never see Earth again, except as a dwindling blue dot through their telescopes.

A future Mars base? This could be a reality in the future.
A future Mars base? This could be a reality in the future.

In Star Trek they always zip around the cosmos with their warp drive and having no problems with travel even over very large distances such as tens of light years. But in reality, this would require massive amounts of energy. But there are studies into the physics of Star Trek and possible solutions to create a real-world warp drive. I would love to visit the planet Arrakis from Dune, that is one planet that would be well worth the effort to see if it really existed. The Guild Navigators use the Spice Melange to give them the mental abilities to fold space, meaning that they can travel from one planet to another without moving; the ship stays in one place and space is moved around it. Travelling through space that way would mean that the journey would take to time at all. By the time you were settled it would be time to disembark. Or we could use a wormhole and travel that way; taking a shortcut through space to reach a distant star system. If one end of the wormhole was orbiting a star at a high speed and the other end was stationary that would enable time travel as time at the moving end would travel more slowly than time at the stationary end. This would mean that if you traveled through it you would emerge in the future. So you could travel from 2018 to 3018 if it was moving fast enough. But this is only theoretical at this time. Once we have some success with space travel we will put more time into research and develop some method of interstellar travel. Maybe using some version of Holtzman engines to fold space. Only time will tell. But once we move into space, the future will be very bright. Even though we could never move enough people into space to compensate for massive population growth, it would provide the opportunity to gain more resources. Mining the asteroids would allow us to have much more materials on hand to build habitats in space.

I hope this is a reality someday.

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