Since the dawn of astronomy, humans have been thinking about colonizing other planets. We've written a book, we've made a movie. But it looks like we're closer than ever to making that idea a reality. Scientists have referenced a number of Earth 2.0 candidates, even fantasizing about what it would be like to live in the clouds of Venus, or inhabit an underground lava tube on Mercury. Which planet will be the first to host a human colony? How will our lives be different once we leave Earth?
In fact, when it comes to colonizing planets, Elon Musk firmly believes that we can't survive as a species without colonizing other planets. The search for extraterrestrial worlds will enable us to survive the possible apocalypse and give us access to vast natural resources. Musk believes the most likely starting point for humans is Mars, where he believes the first human landing will take place in 2029, and the first Martian colonies will start popping up around the planet within a few years after that. While preparations for the mission are in full swing, Mars remains a tricky place. Why do you say that?
First, take Martian dust, for example. Because of the high winds there, dust can accumulate on solar panels, which can make them inoperable. Tiny rocks dotting the planet's surface could do even more damage, and in 2022, NASA showed pictures of the Curiosity rover's tires torn to shreds by Martian soil.
And Mars is so cold, with an average surface temperature of about -60°C, that without some kind of protection or spacesuit, the people there would quickly turn into ice sculptures. Mars has a very weak magnetic field and an atmosphere a hundred times thinner than Earth's, meaning the planet is completely exposed to cosmic radiation. Moreover, since the Martian atmosphere is a toxic mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon, there are no microbes to breathe. But with the help of modern technology, all of these can be solved. Even a gravity three times smaller than Earth's isn't much of a problem, and of course humans may need to spend several hours a day on special exercise equipment to stay in good shape.
Elon Musk is already preparing people to land on the Red Planet. But it's a long flight. The average distance between Earth and Mars is 225 million kilometers. If you drive at 112 kilometers per hour, it will take you 223 years to get there! At the closest point, the planets are about 62 million kilometers apart, and at the farthest point, about 400 million kilometers apart. The best time to fly from Earth to Mars is once every two years, when the orbits of the two planets are closest.
Musk will then arrange for starships to be launched from Earth, each attached to a reusable launch vehicle with 42 Raptor engines. The rocket's total altitude of 122 meters is the largest ever, surpassing even NASA's Saturn V moon rocket. The booster rocket accelerated the spacecraft to 8,650 km/h before separating and returning to Earth. The ship will transport people to Mars in about seven months, and after filling tanks with Mars-made fuel, the ship can be launched back to Earth using its own engines. To fuel rockets, humans would have to build a factory on Mars to produce methane and liquid oxygen from water ice and atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The spacecraft would carry 100 or even 200 people and 100 tons of cargo, and Starfleet would make about 1,000 voyages a year. At this rate, Musk said, a city with millions of citizens and developed industry could emerge on the red Planet by 2050. Musk plans to build a protective dome on Mars, and then build a city under it. The homes will be built by robots before people arrive, and the rest can be printed by settlers using 3D printers.
The most important thing, according to Elon Musk, is to make settlements independent of the planet's supply. Food can be grown on solar-powered hydroponic farms. As for the Martian soil, it's not clear whether Earth-based plants will take root there. More recently, lunar soil has been tested in this regard as well. To find out if that was possible, NASA and University of Florida scientists seeded lunar topsoil and volcanic ash with green crops and added nutrient solutions. Cruciferous vegetables were found to germinate in the mixture 39bet-kết quả bóng đá-kết quả xổ số miền bắc-kèo bóng đá -soi cầu bóng đá-đặt cược. This certainly raises the moon's status as a colony.
However, our satellite is too small to be a second Earth. Scientists are considering all the planets in the solar system, even Mercury, as possible official substitutes for our home. It is hard to imagine that a new Earth would be a body so close to the sun. Our star heats Mercury's surface to an average of 179°C, with daytime highs even higher, as high as 427°C, and it has no atmosphere to deflect solar radiation. A solution was proposed as early as 2011. The Messenger probe has discovered a plethora of Swiss cheese-like features on the surface of Mercury that could indicate the presence of underground lava tubes.
Colonies built inside such tubes would naturally be protected from solar radiation and extreme temperatures. But the lack of gravity remains a problem. Without gravity, the body's muscles lose their usual load and begin to atrophy rapidly. Our bones will suffer even more. For example, during prolonged periods of weightlessness, bone mass first decreases, and then due to the lack of stress in the bones, calcium begins to break down and be released into the bloodstream, increasing the chance of fracture. Because blood pressure in the human brain is much lower than in our feet, if you remove gravity, blood pressure in the whole body would stabilize. This can lead to bleeding blood vessels, impaired vision and stroke.
Obviously, Mercury is unlikely, but what about Venus? If we decide to move to Venus, we will avoid the trouble on Mercury. And the planet's gravity is almost equal to Earth's, and Venus has a dense atmosphere that protects colonists from radiation. In addition, the planet has accumulated large amounts of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere, from which oxygen can be extracted. But there's a problem. Behind Venus's thick veil is a living hell.
The large amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus would produce extreme greenhouse effects and raise the temperature to about 475° с. The pressure on Venus is about the same as that on Earth 900 meters below the surface. As a result, even the most protected probes can only survive there for a few hours before being flattened by the enormous atmospheric pressure. The planet's upper atmosphere is also filled with toxic acid rain, which is many times more corrosive than the worst acid rain on our planet. The wind was blowing away everything in its path at 360 kilometers an hour. So why would scientists consider colonizing such a scary planet?
It turns out that Venus is hiding a place just like Earth! At an altitude of about 50 kilometers, there is an area where the pressure and gravity levels are similar to those on Earth. The temperature there is about 30-50°C. So it might be a good idea to build floating habitats behind planetary clouds! The NASA team has begun developing the high-altitude Venus operation concept. The original mission envisioned an airship 129 meters long and 34 meters high, with only a thin outer layer to protect against the heat. One idea is to use a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen as the airship's lift gas to make it fully habitable. This would make the airship lighter than Venus's atmosphere, allowing it to float above the clouds. Since Venus is so close to the sun, there will be plenty of solar energy, which means there will be no problem powering the floating habitat and cooling the spacecraft. Of course, all this is just a vision and extremely difficult to implement.
In addition to these planets, scientists also consider Saturn's moon Titan, which is the size of an asteroid and is the tenth largest body in the solar system, including the Sun. Its diameter is 1.06 times that of Mercury, 1.48 times that of the moon, and 0.40 times that of Earth. This giant moon is more like our planet than any other body in the solar system. Titan has lakes of liquid methane and ethane that are very similar to Earth's water bodies. They are constantly washed away by methane rain, and the land is covered with dunes of solid hydrocarbons that look similar to dunes on Earth. These hydrocarbons may have been an excellent source of energy for the colonists.
And Titan's nitrogen atmosphere is 50 percent thicker than Earth's, so water ice beneath the moon's surface could be used to make oxygen. Although Titan is very cold, with an average temperature of about -180°C, humans don't have to wear spacesuits to escape the cold because Titan's dense atmosphere can drive the cold away and people can walk around in warm clothes and respirators. They can make houses out of plastic using local raw materials. Scientists think that on Titan, we should build dome-shaped houses inflated with warm oxygen and nitrogen. Another unique thing about Titan is that the first people there could fly like birds. Weak gravity combined with a dense atmosphere allows you to perform aerial stunts with wings on your back.
But do we really need another celestial body to survive? Back in 1975, the idea of colonizing space was nothing new. But recently, a team at Stanford University developed a project to build modern settlements between stars and planets. It is made in the form of a torus with a diameter of 1.6 kilometers and a thickness of 150 meters. Such a house can accommodate 10,000 people. It requires continuous rotation on its axis to produce artificial gravity. There will be an industrial area for processing ore from nearby planets and their moons. The remaining slag can be dumped outside because it can be a reliable barrier against all kinds of radiation. In the living quarters, each colonist will receive a separate apartment, located at a different level. All will be connected by a spiral staircase, where people will often see each other upside down. This effect is due to the constant rotation of the structure. Scientists are already planning to colonize Earth-like exoplanets near other stars. But do you think we can get that far?