(ORDO NEWS) — Elon Musk’s Starship, at first glance, is suitable for a flight to Mars. Why do scientists not believe that it will reach the Red Planet?
In the blockbuster “Total Recall” the hero of Arnold Schwarzenegger finds an alien mechanism on Mars that produces oxygen from ice. He presses the cherished lever, and the lifeless red planet in an instant turns into a blooming world.
You will be surprised, but this fantastic scenario is based on a real theory. Back in 1971, astronomer Carl Sagan told the world about it.
He proposed to melt the Martian polar ice and use carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen to restore the planet’s atmosphere.
Scientists have been developing this idea for more than 30 years, but it has not been possible to realize it. It turned out that carbon dioxide is simply not enough to create a second earth.
Do we have to abandon the colonization of Mars? Or is there still a chance?
Huge fields of solar panels, fantastic domes with gardens inside, apartments and offices overlooking the Red Planet.
This is how, according to the designers of the international architectural studio, Nuva, the capital of the future Martian colony, will look like.
The project is designed for 250 thousand inhabitants. The architects plan that the construction of the city will begin as early as 2054.
“Still, humanity on Earth needs to have some kind of spare planet. Some kind of asteroid may fly in or conflicts of a global scale may occur.
No one is immune from the fact that such conflicts can reach proportions when, in general, all of humanity will disappear forever.
How to deliver hundreds of colonists and thousands of tons of cargo to Mars? And not only to take them there, but also to return them back.
For the first time, such a trick was carried out by the Americans: in 1969, they not only flew to the moon, but also returned to Earth.
They did it on the Apollo spacecraft, whose take-off weight reached three thousand tons.
And this is for a trip a little less than 800 thousand kilometers long, and flying to Mars is 55 million kilometers. And that’s just one way.
“What kind of rocket is needed to fly to Mars and return back? It’s 6000 tons at least, yes. Some people think that actually more is needed, and I agree with them. Can you imagine how huge this rocket is? The height is more than 100 meters anyway,” the expert said.
Will Musk’s spacecraft make it to Mars?
Elon Musk’s Starship, at first glance, should be suitable for a flight to Mars. The declared height of the device together with the launch vehicle is about 120 meters.
According to preliminary calculations, it will be able to take into orbit about 100 tons of payload and a hundred astronauts. Elon Musk promises that the first manned flight to the Red Planet will take place as early as 2024.
However, most researchers do not really believe in this date. The billionaire company began work on the exploration of Mars almost 20 years ago.
During this time, only a few prototypes of a unique ship were created and five test launches were carried out. Only the last one was successful.
Some scientists believe that Musk went down the wrong path in his work. A huge ship with an engine powered by a mixture of methane and oxygen is too heavy and clumsy.
The atomic engine is more powerful, compact and economical, but it was abandoned because of the danger.
One emergency situation at launch is enough, and humanity would have been waiting for a tragedy worse than Chernobyl.
Flight simulation to the red planet
Even the optimist Elon Musk says that the journey to Mars will take at least six months. If we add to this the stay on the planet and the return trip, it turns out that the astronauts will spend about 400-500 days in complete isolation.
How can people deal with this?
In this simulator there were sand, stones and other objects that could be interacted with. And people in spacesuits performed a certain set of operations, selecting hard, loose rocks, breaking off pieces of rocks, controlling rovers, setting up weather balloons, working out emergency situations and many other things.
Why you can only go to Mars once in your life
Scientists have proven that psychologically people are able to withstand a long space journey. It turns out that if you build a suitable ship, you can fly to Mars?
In fact, no – on the way, daredevils face danger, protection from which has not yet been invented.
In Earth orbit, astronauts are protected by the Earth’s magnetic field, and outer space is filled with nuclear radiation. At high speed, the charged particles will literally pierce the ship through and through.
For the entire journey back and forth, a person will receive a lethal dose of radiation. That is why many researchers assure that you can fly to Mars only once in your life.
“You won’t get radiation sickness, but you will be in the danger zone all the time. We flew to Mars, and there is practically no magnetic field there.
It is, but, in general, weak. That is, we are in the same conditions as where something out there in near-Earth outer space,” the expert says.
“From the point of view of chemistry, this is the simplest technology.
At school in the eighth grade, they already undergo such a dissociation reaction when carbon dioxide is decomposed into water, hydrogen and then oxygen is obtained there in a magical way.
This technology is used on the ISS, but it was important to test it on Mars “, – said the founder of the project “We believe in space”.
The Perseverance rover produced five grams of oxygen in an hour. Such a volume would be enough for a person for 10 minutes.
But this is a small rover, and you can create huge carbon dioxide processing plants on Mars. There is only one question – where to get so much CO2? In the rarefied atmosphere of the planet, it is not enough.
Elon Musk’s new project
How to create normal atmospheric pressure on Mars was invented by the team of Elon Musk. They suggested using SF6.
Its huge molecules are composed of sulfur and fluorine and perfectly intercept infrared and ultraviolet radiation. If you fill the atmosphere of Mars with them, the greenhouse effect is guaranteed.
This would quickly warm up the planet, melt the ice and raise carbon dioxide levels. Elon Musk is ready to spend all his money on this project.
“I decided to sell all my property in order to speed up the preparation of a flight to Mars with further colonization of the Red Planet.
I don’t need a house, I can sleep in the office. My children need a house, but I can rent it,” says the American billionaire.
Musk’s net worth is approximately $180 billion. Whether this will be enough to conquer Mars is not clear, but it is likely that the same goal can be achieved with fewer means.
Back in 2012, the German Aerospace Agency conducted an experiment with a species of Arctic lichen. He was placed in conditions identical to those on Mars. The lichen not only survived, but also grew.
If such organisms are landed on Mars, they will begin to produce oxygen during photosynthesis and prepare the planet for the appearance of people.
So it is quite possible that the first to fly into the new space home will not be colonists with equipment, but lichens.
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