Colonization of Mars: the nearest prospect or a distant dream?

Colonization of Mars: the nearest prospect or a distant dream?


Colonization of Mars will be the subject of a panel discussion at the INSPACE FORUM 2017.

Venus is too hot, the satellites of Saturn and Jupiter that are suitable for life are out of reach for modern humanity, but the climate conditions of Mars are the most suitable for terrestrial organisms. In the nearest future, the Red Planet could be a new home for earthlings.

Who is ready to take charge of the mission to Mars?

Mars One experts, Interplanetary Media Group, NASA and Roscosmos are engaged in the colonization project of the fourth planet from the Sun. US National Space agency predicts landing on Mars in 2030-ies. Other two projects have not been scheduled yet. The main problem faced by the Federal Space Agency and the private project Mars One is lack of major technical developments.

“Interplanetary Transport System” by SpaceX

Unlike other companies, the representatives of SpaceX have a detailed plan for the settlement of the Red Planet. The founder of the company Elon Musk said that the conquest of Mars will be the first step towards the colonization of the solar system. According to Musk, people will be able to enter the Martian ground in 2024.

SpaceX Колонизация Марса

At the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, the head of SpaceX introduced the idea of "Interplanetary Transport System". According to the concept, the spacecraft will be launched into orbit by a reusable space launch vehicle Falcon Heavy. The vehicle will be returning several times to the launch site at Cape Canaveral for refueling and taking fuel cargo for interplanetary flight. Dragon spacecraft will be used as a platform for the SpaceX spacecraft. The rocket will be equipped with Raptor engines running on methane, which will be possibly extracted on Mars in the future.

Timescales and funding

According to the estimations of SpaceX analysts, the journey of the first colonizers - perhaps one-way journey - will take up to 150 days. In the future, supplies vehicles and specialists will fly to Mars every two years, which will help to maintain and develop the colony. It is planned to send about one million people to the Red Planet, which will take approximately 40 years.

In order to finance the development of the spacecraft and the space launch vehicle, Elon Musk hopes to enlist the support of private investors and state offices as well.

What will happen to the first colonists on Mars?

The first settlers of the Red Planet will face the biggest difficulties. They will have to create appropriate living conditions for the earthlings from scratch. For this reason, each SpaceX spacecraft that carries people will be followed by ten spacecrafts carrying food, construction materials and medicine.

The main resources for life support on Mars:

  1. Oxygen

Plants will be needed to produce oxygen.

  1. Water

Water can be extracted from ice at the poles, and in future, the settlement will be provided with the pipeline system.

  1. Energy

Musk plans to use solar energy. He is considering the creation of flexible and lightweight panels that can be transported from Earth.

  1. Food

It is planned to build farms and greenhouses.

  1. Housing

The first decades the city on Mars will be covered with a dome to protect the inhabitants from cold, solar radiation and lack of air pressure.

  1. Network

Satellites will provide communication with Earth.

  1. Fuel for rockets

Spacecrafts will be filled with methane. It can be extracted from Martian resources such as water and carbon dioxide.