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Should Mars Be The Sole Focus Of Astronomical Research?

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Astronomy and Mars Background Information

Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun and third smallest planet in our Solar System, is also known as ‘The Red Planet’ (Figure 1) (Birch, 2004). Mars has the closest climactic zones of all the planets to ours, with polar ice caps and temperatures of approximately -63o¬C, however its atmosphere is toxic to us, with 96% Carbon Dioxide (ESA, n.d.). Mars is part of a field of research called astronomy. According to the website, Britannica.com (2019), astronomy is the field of science that encompasses anything in our universe and the physics involved. Mars itself is a unique astronomical body. Birch (2004) again states that Mars was once home to water like Earth as indicated by water erosion visible on the planets surface. Furthermore, he states that the polar icecaps are in fact made of water, thus potentially hosting microbes. In 1999, NASA (2005) has been able to photograph the sight of icy clouds, which may indicate a presence of water on the planet.

Claim

Should Mars be the sole focus of astronomical research going into the future? This is the question that many astronomers and scientists have been asking for many years. Now, people think they might have the answer.

For

There are many pros behind why there should be exploration to Mars.

Life

The European Space Agency (n.d.) believes that Mars research can be summarised as a mission to look for life and potentially liveable regions. It is known that Mars is the most similar planet to Earth. Previously, the planet hosted water, a thicker atmosphere and was significantly warmer. Therefore, many scientists including the ESA believe that Mars offered a potentially habitable environment and why life may still exist on the Red Planet.

Resources

The surface of Mars is consisted of iron-oxide (Fe¬¬2O3) (Wikipedia, n.d.). With iron oxide being the largest composition on the surface, we can simply get oxygen from the surface and use iron as well as the silica and basalt to build and create a ‘colony’ (mining-technology.com, 2017). Furthermore, the water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere make it easy to produce plastics and methane or hydrogen fuels.

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Survival of Human Race

Building on, humans need to colonise Mars, Orwig (2015) suggests that with climate change and natural causes like meteors, interplanetary colonisation with ensure that we survive even without the Earth to lean on. Furthermore, 99.9% of all species to ever live on Earth have been wiped out (Simberloff, 2001)

Against

Conversely, there are also cons behind exploring Mars.

Economic Cost

Yahia (2012) suggests that it is an economic debt that will empty our pockets. The estimated total cost will be approximately $2.5 billion US Dollars. Furthermore, sending humans to Mars is cost expensive, robotic research of Mars has a higher reward rate as it is cheaper and more efficient than humans (Jestin, 2018).

Earth Before Mars

Furthermore, people suggest that we should focus on our Earth and fix it before we pay attention to Mars as a future development (Bharmal, 2018). This is backed up by Stephen Hawking in 2017 and other scientists, estimating that if we don’t focus on earth, we’ll have only 100 years left on this blue planet.

Human Contamination and Lack of Liveability

The final issue that people have with the Mars mission is that humans will contaminate Mars. We will damage the Martian environment with our microbes (Bharmal, 2018). Furthermore, studies conducted by the ESA (n.d.) show that Mars’ atmosphere comprises of 96% carbon dioxide, making it impossible for humans to breathe. Conversely, just under 0.2% of the atmosphere is breathable oxygen.

Conclusion

There are both pros and cons to Mars, and the colonisation of the Red Planet. Just like the Curiosity rover (Figure 2) and other rovers before it, economic funding for space has been given. Colonialism is an old term that is slowly becoming more and more relevant by the day as a future vision. To save us as a species and out live global climactic changes, Mars is a viable option that we must accept heading into the future. Through discovery of Mars’ composition, we have discovered means of getting oxygen and water on the planet, making it a hospitable planet. Thus, astronomical research on Mars is the most the important step for us as a unified species heading into the future. Therefore Mars, the ‘Red Planet,’ should be our sole astronomical research point for the next decade.

Reference List

  1. Bharmal, Z 2018, ‘The case against Mars colonisation’, Science, The Guardian, Australia, viewed 29 October 2019, .
  2. Birch, R 2004, Mars, The new Solar System, 2nd edn, Macmillan, South Yarra.
  3. ESA n.d., ‘Why go to Mars?’ Science & Exploration, European Space Agency, viewed 1 November 2019, .
  4. Evans, J 2019, ‘Astronomy’, Britannica, britannica.com, viewed 23 October 2019, .
  5. ‘Geology of Mars’ n.d., Wikipedia, Wikipedia, viewed 1 November 2019, .
  6. Jestin 2018, ‘Why we shouldn’t send humans to Mars’, spacetechasia, spacetech, Singapore, viewed 1 November 2019, .
  7. ‘Mars Daily Global Image’ 2005, Welcome to the Planets, NASA, viewed 23 October 2019, .
  8. Orwig, J 2015, ‘5 undeniable reasons humans need to colonize Mars — even though it’s going to cost billions’, TECH INSIDER, BUISNESS INSIDER, viewed 27 October 2019, .
  9. ‘Sands of Mars: digging up the red planet’ analysis, 2017, MINING TECHNOLOGY, MINING-TECHNOLOGY, viewed 1 November 2019, .
  10. Simberloff 2001, ’roundtable: A MODERN MASS EXTINCTION’, extinction, PBS.org, viewed 1 November 2019, .
  11. Vogt, G 2003, Mars, Raintree Publishers, Oxford, p. 5.
  12. Walter, M 2017, ‘The new space race: why we need a human mission to Mars’, The Conversation, viewed 25 October 2019, .
  13. Yahia, M 2012, ‘Why waste money on the Mars landing?’ houseofwisdom, Springer Nature, Saudi Arabia, viewed 29 October 2019, .

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Should Mars Be The Sole Focus Of Astronomical Research? (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 2, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/should-mars-be-the-sole-focus-of-astronomical-research/
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Should Mars Be The Sole Focus Of Astronomical Research? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Oct 2]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/should-mars-be-the-sole-focus-of-astronomical-research/
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