If you watched the movie “The Martian,” then you know that it will not be easy to survive on Mars. Even though various space agencies, such as NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing, have stated that they are planning on sending humans to the planet, the journey itself has its own set of challenges.
The distance between Mars and Earth is almost a hundred million kilometres. Also, a mission to the planet will take about 21 months, which is significantly longer than what astronauts can spend in space. The risks associated with this journey are significant.
Finding the most appropriate rocket to launch a crewed Mars mission
There are currently no suitable rockets that can launch humans to Mars. One of the main contenders for this mission is NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, while SpaceX’s Starship is currently undergoing testing. The former’s current iteration of the rocket, which launched the mission “Artemis 1, is not designed to carry humans to Mars.” This means that the SLS will have to be upgraded in order to accommodate a mission.
The design of the rockets that will be used for this mission will be significantly different from what they were in the past and one malfunction could be the end of everything.
Probable death of astronaut
In addition to the risks associated with travelling to Mars, astronauts will also have to endure the harsh environment of space for a much longer time than on the moon. NASA estimates that it will take about nine months for the astronauts to reach the planet. The spacecraft that will be used for this mission must be able to protect the humans from various space-related threats like a probable solar flare erupting in the direction of the Sun can expose the astronauts to lethal levels of radiation even inside the spacecraft.
Soft landing on the Martian soil
The thin atmosphere of Mars allows the spacecraft to slow down and avoid getting hit by the planet’s gravitational pull. Also, its thick and hot atmosphere can allow the heat shield and other equipment on the landing craft to get extremely hot. This is why it will be very important that the various systems that will be used for the soft landing on the planet are designed to withstand extreme temperatures.
Stay on Mars can be more challenging
The distance between Earth and Mars is constantly changing due to the two planets’ orbital velocities. This is why it is important that missions to Mars are conducted during the launch windows when the two planets are closest to each other. This means that if the astronauts are not able to reach Mars before the end of their mission, they might have to wait for a while to get back to Earth.
Moreover, during their stay of not less than three to four months, Mars will not be able to shield astronauts anywhere nearly as well as the Earth due to its thin atmosphere.
Gravity of Mars
The gravitational pull of Mars is only 38 percent higher than that of Earth. Although this is not known how this will affect the human body, it is believed that exposure to the planet for a prolonged period could cause some individuals to develop weaker muscles.