Manned mission to Mars

Brian Bonfante

PHYS1117

Term paper:

Manned Mission to the Martian Planet

As a young kid my interest to astronomy has always been real high. To learn about planets and the stars you’ll always had my focus into the subject. I had the chance to take an astronomy class and I’m happy I did. I’ve knew a few topics in the class already because of my own knowledge but I learned so much more! In this term paper I will be talking about mankind’s greatest goals known to date which is a manned mission to Mars. The topics I will touch upon on will be planet Mars itself, its atmosphere, its gravity and can it sustain life or if there has been life on the planet before. Other subjects like how much will this project cost, how much food and water will be needed for the trip and how long will it take us to reach Mars surface and come back to Earth in one piece. It’s definitely a dangerous mission and if anything wrong happens there will probably not be a rescue mission.

I believe the topic I chose is interesting because to me well for personal interest and knowledge that has yet to be learned. Everybody has their own reasons of this topic being interesting, such reasons like scientist wanting to know if there is water on the planet not just dead lands and dust everywhere. Or others might want to know if the planet has expensive resources like diamonds, gold or even gasoline. We have been to Mars since the twentieth century of course robot landings but never humans walking on the surface. We have gained some knowledge of the planet but it’s very different when having a human observing with its own eyes because we are much more observant and notice more details then when a robot is observing the surface and collecting information just taking photos.

Well planet Mars is half the size of planet Earth and we can travel around the planet Earth on a jet in less than 45 hours imagine how long it would take us to travel around planet Mars. Mars atmosphere is thin with 95% carbon dioxide almost like Venus having 97% carbon dioxide but entirely different because of green house effects are opposite. Venus atmosphere traps heat and Mars doesn’t, causes temperatures to be real cold and at night much colder. There is no evidence of Mars having a liquid core like planet earth and no magnetically field. With it having the runaway green house effect the volcanic activities are inactive and because of its mass gravity is not as strong as like Earth but some scientist believe that Mars tallest mountain “Mount Olympus” is still active which confuses me. It confuses me because the mountain continues to grow taller but that researchers say the planet is not active. The Martian planets has two moons called “Phobos” and “Deimos” and are both too small to be moons so researchers considered them as asteroids.

Mars is theory to be just like Earth many years ago and it having large bodies of oceans because of detail features such as gullies, water flows and hematite but something happened and researchers are not sure what are the reasons that caused this. There is probably some water but it’s frozen in ice caps in the north and southern poles and their sizes change during the seasons from larger too small. These ice caps are believed to be frozen carbon dioxide ice and water ice! There are many theories on how it’s become what it is now. For one it was probably too small and all the water cleared up or the planet had an asteroid attack because there are craters around of the surface. The planet is covered in dust dirt like material and this causes the cover ups of its craters, so even though they might seem small they are much larger than what you see. Dust storms are serious in Mars and they can last for a long time also hiding the planet’s surface while observing it.

For us to reach Mars we will be waiting for Earths and Mars orbits to be close by. This takes two years to happen according to “Universetoday.com” an article by Fraser Cain, when the orbits are close its called opposition. I’ve once seen a movie called “Journey to Mars” I think that was the title of the movie but in the film they had a idea of when their ship is near planet Mars the gravitational pull will lure them in and the ship will pick up speed. I was skeptic of this idea but thanks to my professor Acquaviva she explained to me that yes this is possible and that objects can escape its pull depending on how fast the objects are going. Well in this movie they used rockets and fuel to move through space. Which I think it’s not a bad idea but it will be really expensive. Not only the fuel will be expensive but the ship itself will be costly. The price for this mission will be well over billions of dollars and supposedly the mission will be set and ready to go around the years of 2030.

For humans to travel quickly on the surface of Mars they will need a sort of vehicle and have it shipped with the crew, it will probably take two ships or maybe one depending on how much one ship can hold. Depending on how much cargo one ship can carry we need to have stocks of medicines, food, liquid drinks and oxygen tanks which can take up a large portion of space in the ship. We also have to keep in mind that will have a space station probing around the planet for emergency uses and also the crews ride back home. I know for a fact that the ship will be using recycling system of oxygen to last. The space suits are one of the most important assets of this trip of course because we know during the trip we will come across certain obstacles like solar winds passing by but hopefully we can avoid this obstacle. Other obstacles like entering Mars atmosphere and the radiation from the planet that we are not fully aware about can harm us.

Also on planet Mars the pressure and gravity are different from planet Earth which we aren’t use to. From staying long terms at the planet with its low gravity, parts of your body can change because you’re using less strength and we will have to adapt to it. So coming back home can cause some problems if you don’t treat you’re body the right way and readapt to Earth’s gravity. If not your muscles will flap and you will have back problems because you could be taller due to less gravity pulling you down. With the space suits we are also protected by any unknown bacteria and substances that we are not aware of and the suits can help us stay uncontaminated. The suits can help us stay uncontaminated but not for long, such reasons like going in and out from the surface of Mars and into the ship continuously, taking off and putting on the space suit and of course the crew will be there for quite awhile. The crew will be on Mars for awhile because we will have to wait again when planets Earth and Mars orbits are close enough to ship our way back and that’s if we are able to achieve this goal, if not your stuck on the red planet for a longer time and will have to wait for a rescue mission. Even though the suits, the ship, the systems recyclable oxygen and its artificial gravity conditions benefits by protecting the crew being exposed and living in this new environment for a long time can cause long or short health issues to the body.

The crew should be aware of a few things before agreeing on being a part of this mission. They will have to realize that this trip is very dangerous and that there is a great chance of not returning to Earth and that it’s a one way trip. The crew will have to know that it’s only a few people they are traveling with and have to deal with for about two years. The members should be mentally prepared for quick decision making to overcome any obstacles that are waiting for them during the trip and during their stay at the Martian planet. They will have to stay in control, keep calm and get along with each other. They will have to think for the whole group and not be selfish. If anything goes wrong the members will have to understand for situations like having a leak in the oxygen systems and there’s no way of fixing this problem unless a mission is sent out to aid and fix problems like this. Members will have to sacrifice and leave the ship because too much oxygen is being absorbed. They can wait and calculate for the aids mission time arrival but if times running out they will need to make these sacrificing decisions. It’s bound for members to have some sexual attraction because of being away from Earth for so long and they will be going through boredom. I believe such things like this are bound to happen because this is practically normal. No television just researching and looking out a window with nothing to see but dry lands. Some sites will be exciting and beautiful to see but it’s still very lonely and really nothing to do.

The biggest question for this topic is “Is there Life on Mars?” A lot of people can argue that there is or not, people have their own theories and beliefs. I’ve heard people talk about civilizations still living under the canyons or under the surface in caves where there’s oxygen. I highly doubt this because of the scientifically facts that are proven and have back up data to state it. The planet is dead to me. I do believe that there can be living microorganisms living near the ice caps and living under the surface but don’t last because of changes in the seasons. So the answer for now ill give is “no” there is no life on planet Mars and it can’t sustain life unless we have more information to prove this. Can the environments change? Probably not because we are have no idea if the planet has even been alive and active at a time and also due to the runaway green house effect it will take a long time and a lot of work repairing this problem. Was there life on Mars before? There are some features that lead to the planet having water before time and as we know if there’s water there is life, but it’s still not enough data to give a “yes” answer for now is “no”.

Coming to my conclusion I’ve learned a few things while doing this paper like how expensive these missions cost. These projects are spending billions and billions of dollars for some information about our galaxy and at times no information because some projects can’t finish missions because difficulties they endure. I’ve also changed my mind about traveling through space and if I was giving a chance to travel around the galaxy. I wouldn’t take that opportunity just because we haven’t found a safe or quick way to travel in space. I still think this topic is interesting to me because there is still information to be discovered and there are always questions that people will like to be answered.

 

 

 

References:

“How Long Does It Take to Get to Mars?” Universe Today RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://www.universetoday.com/14841/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-to-mars/>.

“Mars One Plans Suicide Mission to Red Planet for 2023.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 24 July 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/07/24/is-mars-one-serious-about-suicide-mission-to-red-planet/>.

“USA TODAY.” USATODAY.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2012. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/story/2012/09/12/manned-mars-mission-still-on-track/57767950/1>.

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