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The Obstacles To Overcome On Mars For Habitat

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Mars can be considered the future of Earth. Humans have been slowly destroying the Earth with bad habits created over time like trash pollution and global warming. Pollution is accumulating all around the world and many things like global warming is worsening, as a result, Earth may become uninhabitable. Earth will not survive if treated so horribly. People need to start living on Mars so humans can have a new start once Earth is destroyed. Humans can make Mars similar to Earth with the new technology being created.

There are many obstacles on Mars that need to be overcome before humans can start their new life there because, over the course of 500 million years, Mars went from being a warm, wet, and safe environment to the cold, uninhabitable place we know today. The many problems needed to be solved within the shelter are the atmosphere on Mars, which is about 1% the density that it is on Earth, most of the air is carbon dioxide, unbreathable by humans, acquiring food, creating water, and the constant barrage of cosmic radiation, without a solution to these problems, settlers on Mars wouldn’t last very long. The Mars habitat is located in the depths of Valles Marineris. It is often called the Grand Canyon of Mars. This is a very deep gulf that stretches 4,000 km along the Martian Equator and about 8 km deep in many places. Landing my spacecraft in this location with many jagged areas and fierce canyon winds would be a great challenge, but it will be very worth it, in the end. Temperatures in the daytime can become about 32° F compared to the normal high temperature of minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another reason I choose to place my habitat in the Depths of Valles Marineris is that there is evidence that there are still spring-like deposits running beneath the deep canyon, where we could collect the groundwater to use in the habitat. This makes it a very good candidate for sourcing water and an ideal area to search for microbial life. Its low altitude makes for a denser atmosphere, which means better radiation shielding. On Mars, 25 small 3D-printed homes will be set up by robots before the first humans ever arrive on the Red Planet so humans won’t be tasked with the very dangerous mission. There will be four separate rooms for each person to sleep in and one bathroom in each home. To prevent complications humans will face with the low air pressure, the habitat will be pressurized to near sea level pressure, which will make breathing in the habitat about the same as breathing at sea level on Earth. It is essentially a perfect home with a layer equipped with big pockets that hold large amounts of water, which freezes to create a protective icy surface on the outside of the habitat.

The water will turn into ice, due to the freezing temperature of Mars. However, the four people inside each house will be warm, from the morning through the night because inside each house, there is ventilation and insulation that protect all the inhabitants from the cold and bad atmosphere. This way of keeping the inhabitants warm is better than terraforming the planet because if messed up, the humans could alter the planet that it can never be terraformed again in such a simple way. It would be better to use the houses for warmth until space programs find a way to terraform Mars without a large chance of failing. The method used around the houses, pockets filled with water that freezes serves a number of purposes; first, the translucent nature of ice means that Martian settlers will be able to get natural light, an impossibility in the other proposed ideas, for example, where astronauts live underground to protect from radiation. Most importantly, ice has the perfect atomic structure to block the cosmic radiation in the form of particles, which are primarily made up of protons. The single proton in the hydrogen atoms is the perfect shield against radiation, as those single-proton cosmic rays will bang directly into the tightly-knit protons of hydrogen and bounce off, keeping those inside safe from the deadly radiation. The 25, small, protective, and circular structures are extended to all community spaces, dining quarters, and gardens through tubes. The entire colony gets together to eat their meals together after exercising, playing, gardening, or talking in the community spaces. In the habitat, there will be waste management for trash and recycling.

There is not going to be trash in the habitat because everything will be repurposed or recycled. There is also waste management for human feces and food waste because some people will specialize in ecological sanitation, a process that transforms human waste into a safe and nutrient-rich agricultural product that becomes an eco-friendly fertilizer for all of the gardens. The vegetables and food waste will also be in the soil with the human feces to create the best soil for the crops growing in the habitat. With the homes and community space, the Mars habitat will be an interconnected network of radiation-free pods where the atmosphere is generated, meaning that colonists who go to live on Mars could actually live their lives without wearing a spacesuit everywhere. Food and water are a major necessity for humans. Food provides nutrients, substances that produce: energy for many things like, growth and all functions of the body. Without a healthy amount of food, the people who go to Mars will starve there. The minimum number of calories a woman should eat is 1,200 per day, and men need at least 1,800 calories a day.

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There will be three meals every day for each person with about 400 to 600 calories for each meal. When the astronauts land on Mars, there will be storable and dehydrated food from Earth waiting for them to use. However, the storable food from Earth will only serve as emergency rations, which means the astronauts will try to eat as much fresh food that they produce on Mars. Any plant production surplus will also be stored as emergency rations. There will always be enough emergency rations in storage, locally produced or from Earth, to survive until the next supply mission comes. In the Mars Habitat, there will be multiple gardens supplying food and oxygen. However, the crops cannot be planted in the soil if it is left in the original state. Martian soil is toxic because there are high concentrations of perchlorate compounds containing chlorine all around Mars. The soil will be detoxified by washing out perchlorate to cleanse the soil and eliminate toxic wastewater so the water can be recycled. One thing that will be planted in the big gardens is potatoes.

Potatoes are packed with a healthy mixture of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C. Potatoes are also very good to plant because people can cut some of the already grown potatoes and put them in the soil to create enough to feed the entire colony without needing to waste space and bring potato tubers. Peas, rye, and tomatoes will also be in the gardens because they have many health benefits and have been tested by scientists in NASA to be able to grow successfully with Mars soil. Food production will occur indoor to keep the plants free from radiation, and away from the harsh temperatures outside. Although the plants are indoors, they will still be able to complete photosynthesis because the sunlight could come through the ice pockets, the soil will be nutrient-rich from the human feces and compost made of uneaten vegetables, and they will be watered regularly. CO2 for the plants are available as the inhabitants inhale and exhale, in return the people in the habitat can get oxygen. However, in case the plants need more sunlight there will be artificial lighting inside. There are solar panels outside of the habitat for the artificial light in the gardens, light in homes at night, and for machines.

This plan to grow vegetables on the Red Planet should accomplish the desired result of feeding all 100 people inhabiting Mars because research of the Wageningen scientists have successfully demonstrated that “... crops are able to grow quite well on Mars and moon soil simulant if organic matter is added to the soils” (Wageningen University and Research Centre). Although food is very important in the survival of humans, water is considered an essential ingredient to life, more important than food. “A human can go without food for about three weeks but would typically only last three to four days without water” (Spector) About 60% 0f human bodies consist of water. Humans need water for circulation, respiration, and converting food to energy. After oxygen, water is the body's most important nutrient. Quite simply, you need water to live. Your body loses water constantly through sweat, urine, and even breathing. You must replace the water your body loses for your organs to continue to work properly. Dehydration occurs when your body doesn't have enough water because you're losing more water than you're taking in. In extreme heat or very cold environments, like Mars humans can get easily dehydrated. Very cold environments cannot hold much moisture, it dehydrates bodies with every breath taken.

The minimum amount of water for an 'average' person to survive, has been estimated to be approximately 3 liters per day. For the 100 people to survive in the Mars habitat, there needs to be at least 300 liters of water made per day, not including the water needed for the gardens, toilets, and showers. The habitat in the depths of Valles Marineris will have a lot of water surrounding it. On Mars, it may seem like there is no water and people may have to make it or bring it from Earth in order to survive but there is so much water on Mars. In fact, Stephen Petranek, the author of “How We’ll Live on Mars” said “There is so much water in the form of ice that if it were to all melt at once the entire planet would be a thousand feet deep in water” (Petranek). This water can be melted and recycled with the technology that has already been created.The water will be cleaned and treated with chemicals indoors after it is collected from the ice tables below a layer of dry regolith in Valles Marineris. Anything needed to be done outside of the habitat would be done by robots that can handle all of the harsh conditions outside. The water from showers and sinks can also be recycled so the supply of water on Mars would only decrease a small amount. There will be more than enough water for all 100 people to drink the recommended amount every day. Food and water are essential to life on Mars, if there was not a way to acquire food and create water, it would not be possible for any life on Mars. The dream of a Martian Colony is getting closer and closer by resolving each problem one by one.

The Current atmosphere on Mars is very harsh compared to Earth’s. Mars has a 100 times thinner atmosphere compared to Mars. Mars’ atmosphere does not protect the planet from the Sun's radiation, does not retain heat at the surface, nor have the gases so humans and animals can breathe. The atmosphere consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and the remainder is very small amounts of oxygen, water vapor, and other gases. With this atmosphere, everyone will die within two minutes, without a spacesuit or a shelter. Humans need oxygen in order to breath but in Mars' atmosphere, there is mostly carbon dioxide. Also, the atmosphere is constantly filled with small particles of dust, mostly iron oxide which give Mars its reddish hue. Mars's surface conditions and past presence of water make it arguably the most hospitable planet in the Solar System besides Earth. This may be the best planet for humans after Earth becomes uninhabitable. Although every design makes the inhabitants' life more comfortable and easier, Mars will never be the same as Earth. There is so much life on Earth with thriving and diverse plants and animals. However, at the rate people are ruining Earth, humans may need another planet to live on. With time, there will be new inventions and ideas that can eventually lead to Mars becoming more habitable for humans, plants, and animals.

The atmosphere inside the habitat has oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen. The atmosphere has these gases so plants can take the carbon dioxide the inhabitants exhale and humans can breathe with the oxygen the crops produce. Nitrogen is also in the atmosphere and plays a vital role for plants because it is a major component of chlorophyll. It is also a major component of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Without proteins, plants wither and die eventually leading to the inhabitants running out of oxygen and fresh food. Inside the habitat, the atmosphere is already controlled. Outside, all around Mars, the atmosphere will remain the same. The inhabitant won’t ever go outside unless they have a spacesuit on with oxygen and protects them from the harsh environment. These will have to be made on Earth with very special care so there are no mistakes that lead to the death of whoever is wearing it.

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