What is the carrying capacity of Earth? With 7 billion people already living on it how many more people can the earth sustain? Elon Musk, the founder of pay pal and tesla, thinks the solution to this problem is to colonize Mars. I think this is a very cool idea and it would be major scientific breakthrough. Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of the company SpaceX; which is an American company located in the Silicon Valley and is currently working on traveling to Mars. The company was founded in 2002 for the purpose of colonizing Mars. SpaceX is like a private version of NASA that is not a government agency; however, SpaceX is funded through government subsides. According to SpaceX’s website the main problem with traveling to mars is reusing launch materials and refueling while in space. Here is a video simulation of the proposed launch. This video was made just to show the public the main idea of the launch and what SpaceX is currently working towards.
Elon Musk said it is possible to have humans on Mars by 2026. This is incredible to have the technology to travel to another planet only 10 years from now. This is however only an estimate that assumes all goes well and there are no major setbacks. Elon musk does not just want to go to Mars; he wants to colonize it and have people living their long term. The trip to Mars will take about 200 days; besides the long trip passengers face other problems as well. According to a study on cosmic radiation a long trip to Mars can have effects on decision making . This could be a problem because the people living on Mars are likely to face problems there and will need to be able to function rationally. According to President Obama the first trip to Mars will just be to test the trip and not for the astronauts to live there long term. This trip will be able to give us a lot of information on the health risks of a trip to Mars. Traveling to Mars will be full of a lot of challenges that will need to be overcome in the time leading up to the initial launch.
When I was reading article about this it reminded me a lot of the first colonization of the United States. During that time the colonist did not know what they were getting into either and it was view as travelling to a whole new world. When colonizing North America, it would take months for them to communicate with Europe. To communicate with Mars it could take up to 22 minutes. This may not seem like a long time but we are not used to having to wait for a response here on earth. You can talk to someone on the other side of the world with no delay. Another similarity is that the colonist of North America had to become self-sufficient due to the time it took for supplies to reach them. If the trip to Mars takes 200 days, the colonist there will need to become self-sufficient because it would take supplies almost 7 months to get there. The Mars journey can be compared in a lot of ways to colonizing America; communication takes a long time compared to current standards, the mars colonist must become self-sufficient, and finally like the European colonist we don’t really know what we are getting ourselves into and the dangers that lie on Mars. I think this is a great opportunity that will come with a lot of challenges in the years leading up to take off and many more challenges on Mars itself.