DailyDirt: It's Not So Simple To Get To Mars...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The shortest distance between the Earth and Mars varies depending on where the two planets are in their respective orbits. In July 2018, Mars will be a little under 36 million miles away (pretty close to the closest possible distance of 33.9 million miles). However, it's not quite as simple as shooting a big rocket aimed in the right direction. If astronauts are going to survive the trip (and the return?), no one has the technology to do that yet. Manned space exploration sounds like a noble venture, but funding it seems to be a big problem. After you've finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

Filed Under: astronauts, biotech, crowdsourcing, gmo, manned missions, mars, space, space exploration, space race, terraforming
Companies: darpa, innocentive, nasa


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  1. icon
    Paraquat (profile), 30 Jun 2015 @ 6:25pm

    nuclear power

    It's cold on Mars, so heat is required to keep people alive. Not to mention necessary to melt ice for water, and process the air to make it breathable.

    Any attempt to send humans to Mars will mean we'd better get serious about 4th generation nuclear power. There is simply no other way to keep humans alive on Mars. The current 3rd generation nuclear power plants are not up to the task, since they are water cooled, and Mars is not exactly overflowing with water. Plus generation 4 has the added advantage of consuming its own nuclear waste.

    Other alternatives for energy on Mars? Almost nothing. Fossil fuels - even if they existed on Mars - would be useless given the lack of oxygen with which to burn them. Wind power...yes, Mars is windy, but with an atmosphere less than 1% of the density on Earth, a 100 mph wind on Mars is less powerful than a one mph wind on Earth.

    There is solar. But given the super cold nights, it's unlikely that enough heat energy could be collected and stored during the daytime to survive the night. Storage of solar energy on Earth is barely doable (pumped storage is most feasible), but would be far more challenging on Mars where water cannot be stored on the surface in liquid form.

    So we'll have to get over our anti-nuclear allergy, or else forget about sending humans to Mars.

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