What Do We Have to Conquer Before Colonizing Mars?

Before we can colonize on Mars, what hurdles must we first conquer? One day, life on Earth will be no more. Our population may overtake this planet's natural resources, creating unsustainable levels of competition for fuels, sustenance and space. Like the dinosaurs, we might be the victims of a cataclysmic asteroid strike, the effects of global warming, or a new ice age. If not, the sun will eventually burn out, making life on this planet completely untenable.

But what will we do when life on Earth is no longer an option? It may sound like science fiction, but we might just up and move to Mars. It's not too farfetched an idea—we have successfully sent a number of unmanned missions to Mars, including Pathfinder, Viking, and most recently the aptly named Mars Curiosity rover. There are a number of hurdles we face before we could set up a permanent colony on the red planet. Here are some of them.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The water on Mars is "liquid hydrated perchlorate salts." 00:10

  2. If something is hygroscopic, it means it can attract and hold water from its environment. 01:13

  3. There is toxic, corrosive mud on Mars. 02:27

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Historically, space food has been made for the short term. Food on a mission to Mars would have to last for years. 00:51

  2. In a call for recipe submissions, the HI-SEAS site received suggestions such as spicy veggie rolls and Cajun jambalaya. 01:32

  3. Spices and hot sauce are an essential part of any space mission for two reasons. 02:16

Written by Curiosity Staff August 27, 2014

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