The race is on to see if humans will mount a successful mission to Mars by 2030. U.S. astronauts are preparing, as are private companies and space programs in other countries. Would seeing humans on Mars reinvigorate space exploration?
Can people survive the physical and psychological rigors of the trip? Could the travelers to Mars be able to return to Earth? These are just some of the areas that could be addressed in a research paper.
Preparing for a mission to Mars
The journey from Earth to Mars is estimated to take about nine months, a lengthy time for U.S. astronauts to be confined. Multiple studies have been, and will continue to be, conducted to determine all manner of variables for such a journey—from physical to psychological stresses that would be endured. A research paper could delve into the well-known failure of a previous study, Biosphere 2.
The Denver Post ran an Associated Press report, “Scientists will live in a dome on a Hawaii volcano for 8 months to simulate Mars” on January 23, 2017, about a current human behavior study of four men and two women. The six researchers will spend eight months within a 1,200 square foot space on a volcano in Hawaii to study how isolated and confined conditions will impact people for a lengthy period of time. The article stated, “They will have no physical contact with people in the outside world and will work with a 20-minute delay in communications with their support crew, or the time it would take for an email to reach Earth from Mars.”
Public or private space exploration
NASA isn’t the only group contemplating travel to the Red Planet. Others, such as Space X founder Elon Musk, are trying to finance and create their own mission to Mars. Lisa Suhay explained in her article, “Elon Musk Wants to Send Humans to Mars in 2024. Can He Do It?” for the June 2, 2016, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.
Currently Musk plans to send a robot-manned mission to Mars in 2018, with a human-helmed crew to follow by 2024. Unlike a program using U.S. astronauts, Musk’s efforts may not guarantee that those aboard his mission to Mars would able to return to Earth. Suhay wrote, “commercial entities such as SpaceX are more likely to accept the risks inherent in exploration than government space agencies.” A research paper could compare and contrast potential space exploration and its dangers with earlier explorers in civilization’s history.
Beyond U.S. astronauts
The United States government and private companies aren’t the only groups interested in space exploration to other planets. Other countries, such as China, are also hoping to mount their own mission to Mars in the near future. Glory Moralidad posted, “China Eyes Moon Landing Next Year And Have A Mars Mission On 2020” on January 2, 2017, for Travelers Today with more about the country’s space aspirations.
Many Americans may not realize that China was the third country to land on the Moon successfully, as well as orbiting Mars (fifth behind the U.S., Russia, Europe and India.) Moralidad wrote, “They also built the world’s largest telescope and launched an environmentally friendly, new generation Long March-7 carrier rocket into space in June.” A research paper could study the history of space exploration in other countries and compare their efforts to that of U.S. astronauts.
Do you think U.S. astronauts will have a successful mission to Mars by 2030 or sooner? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.