Humans can reach Mars in a few decades, but it will take hundreds or tens of thousands of years to reach planets outside the solar system..
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, wants to have a city of one million people on Mars by 2050. This goal seems very ambitious because humans have never set foot on the surface of Mars. So how long will it take for humans to colonize another planet? Can humans colonize celestial bodies outside the solar system?
Astronauts on Mars will have to learn to live with high radiation and extreme temperatures.
Astronauts on Mars will have to learn to live with high radiation and extreme temperatures. (Photo: Peepo).
The answers to these questions depend on the destination. For Mars, several decades are not necessarily unrealistic. According to Serkan Saydam, deputy director of the Australian Space Engineering Research Center and professor at the University of New South Wales, colonizing Mars could be feasible within a few decades. “I believe that by 2050 we will have a human colony on Mars”he said.
Ƭheo Transparent, The first important thing when establishing a colony on Mars is water, and water can be extracted from ice and hydrated minerals. He believes water will boost agriculture and the ability to grow food on Mars. Meanwhile, hydrogen from ice and minerals can be used as an energy source for rockets.
Other scientists are not so optimistic. Astronaut engineer Louis Friedman, co-founder of the nonprofit The Planetary Society, said that Colonization of Mars is unlikely in the near future. Rachael Seidler, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida who has worked with NASA astronauts, thinks that seems unrealistic.
However, humanity could reach Mars in a few decades. China plans to start sending crews to Mars in 2033, while NASA’s goal is in the late 2030s or early 2040s. Once humans reach the Red Planet, the next step could consist of building a colony.
Colonies require a certain level of self-sufficiency but do not require complete independence from Earth. Saydam compares Mars to an isolated island that still needs resupply from time to time. “Most of the equipment and tools will be transported from Earth. I don’t think you can produce a truck on the surface of Mars,” Saydam said.
Martian colony will have to implement certain activities to ensure its financial viability. Space tourism is an option, but Saydam believes mining is the key to successful colonization.
Although it is the most realistic option for settling outside of Earth, Mars is not necessarily the most suitable planet for humans.. More than 95% of the Martian atmosphere is made up of CO2, the climate is very cold with an average temperature of around -60 degrees Celsius, spacecraft from Earth take around 8.5 months to reach Mars and are also attacked by radiation.
Simulation of Voyager 1 moving through interstellar space.
Simulation of Voyager 1 moving through interstellar space. (Photo: NASA).
There will almost certainly be exoplanet (planet outside the solar system) “more user-friendly” with humans. The problem is that they are too far away. Humans have not yet been able to send a spacecraft to an exoplanet. The few ships to escape the solar system are Voyager 1 and 2. It took them 35 and 41 years respectively to reach interstellar space. Meanwhile, exoplanets are much further away.
“With current technology, it will take us tens of thousands of years to reach the nearest exoplanet.”said Frédéric Marin, a black hole astrophysicist at the Strasbourg Observatory at the University of Strasbourg.
This travel time could make the colonization of an exoplanet impossible. But Marin has run computer simulations of interstellar travel and hopes travel times will decrease in the near future thanks to faster spacecraft.
“We know that in science, every 100 years, the speed of a propulsion vehicle can increase tenfold”, Marin said. Thus, the travel time to exoplanets can gradually decrease from tens of thousands of years to thousands of years, then hundreds of years.
Marin presented a hypothetical scenario according to which we could reach a habitable exoplanet within 500 years. This centuries-long journey still requires many generations of spacecraft operators, most of whom will not see the colonized exoplanet in time.
Marin’s simulations show that around 500 people are a suitable starting population for such a multi-generational ship. However, how will the crew live their entire lives on the ship and how will their descendants live once born and raised on an interstellar spaceship. This also raises ethical concerns. Additionally, climate change and other challenges on Earth risk pushing humanity into extinction before it can travel interstellar and colonize exoplanets.
Article source: VnExpress
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Humans can reach Mars in tens of years, but it may take hundreds or even tens of thousands of years to reach the extrasolar planet. Elon Musk,…