Elon Musk is set to take the stage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, to talk about sending humans to Mars. His keynote will discuss possible architectures and the technical problems for the colonization of the planet.
Musk is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer of SpaceX. He founded Space Exploration Technologies Corporation some fourteen years ago, with the purpose of working toward the goal of sending people to other planets, to live and work. His keynote is aptly titled “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species.”
The idea of populating other planets used to be more or less exclusively science fiction, but at least going to Mars is reaching the grounds of reality.
The concept of Mars exploration got a huge boost among the scientific community and the general public, when the Curiosity Rover landed on the planet, with its landscape dotted with dunes. The rover sent back to Earth the first high-resolution pictures of the Red Planet’s surface.
And SpaceX is not the only company who is working toward the goal of sending people to Mars. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration wishes to send Americans to the neighbor planet by the 2030s in their “Journey to Mars” mission, while SpaceX hopes it can accomplish that goal by 2025.
A long-standing part of Science Fiction
Colonization has long been a large part of Science Fiction settings, even if it is not the primary focus of the story. Mars has always been a popular planet for settling, even centuries before it became known how truly inhospitable it is.
C.L Moore, Edgar Rice Burrough, Leigh Brackett, and Ray Bradbury, and were the first authors who imagined a human-settled Mars not too unlike the wild west on Earth.
But modern writers have been imagining the process of terraforming and inhabiting Mars in great detail, with an emphasis on realism. For example, S.A Corey and his Expanse series of books, along with Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy and single book 2312.
Mars’ attractiveness is pretty obvious, the planet is very close to Earth, speaking in cosmic distances. With what scientists know about other planets, Mars remains the most hospitable: it features a rudimentary atmosphere and hints of water, which other celestial bodies lack.
“The enthusiasm and momentum for sending humans to Mars is higher than it’s ever been. Technologically, it doesn’t seem that far out of reach. We can see a path,” has stated Ashwin Vasavada, who works at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Curiosity project scientist.
But the human dream to settle on other planets is no easy task. To go to Mars, the brave space explorers will have to survive a 155 million mile journey, and the manned landing on the planet. And then, the astronauts would have to hurry in order to make the place habitable and refuel the ship back home.
Robert Zubrin, the founder of the Mars Society and author of The Case for Mars, has stated that the red planet is the closest celestial body humans “can realistically settle.” He has also said that Musk wants “eternal glory” putting people in the neighbor planet.
Source: The Verge