To reach the moon has always been one of the ambitious goals of humankind. The Americans made the one giant leap back in 1969 with the Apollo 11. Since then reaching and living on Mars has become the second big audacious goal for humans all over the world.
But have you ever wondered why living on Mars is such a challenge? Well first, lets compare to Earth vs Mars
Living on Earth vs Mars
Lets be honest, we are very grateful to live on earth because of many reasons.
- First lets compare the size. Mars, with a diameter of 6790 kilometers, is almost half the size of Earth.
- Now lets look at the surface. 70% of Earth’s surface is covered in liquid water. Mars, on the other hand, is mostly covered in rock and dust.
- Third lets talk about the weather. Mars is cold, like very very cold. The average temperature on Mars is 81 degrees below 0 F, as compared to 57 degrees F on Earth.
- On the bright side, on Mars there are clear skies, sunny days and water you can actually swim in.
Challenge of living on Mars
The biggest challenge until now to living on Mars has been its salty water.
Humans can’t drink salty water. Usually the salt is removed from water using a method popularly known as electrolysis. This method removes the salt from water and breaks it down into oxygen (that can be used to breathe) and hydrogen (that can be used as fuel)
Thanks to a new research by engineers at the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St Louis that challenge might be solved soon. These engineers have developed a electrolysis system to extract oxygen and fuel from Mars’ salty water.
Vijay Ramani, head of the lab at Washington University in St Louis said “Our Martian brine electrolyser radically changes the logistical calculus of missions to Mars and beyond. This technology is equally useful on Earth where it opens up the oceans as a viable oxygen and fuel source”
This will open up a whole new paradigm for research on how to make Mars liveable for humans. Also, on Earth, the same technology can be used to creating oxygen on demand from sea water in closed environments such as submarines. It could also provide oxygen as researchers explore uncharted environments closer to home, in the deep sea.
Human future on Mars
It seems likely that humans will soon be able to figure out how to live on Mars.
One of the requirements for being able to live on Mars requires the sustainable generation of drinkable water for humans. This new discovery will allow astronauts to do just that.
Now more than ever there are private and public space agencies who are aiming to send missions to Mars.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, has famously said that he expects humans to land on Mars in six years. This means that the race to mars is more competitive than ever before and research like this one would definitely help in making that a possibility.
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