Science

For all mankind: when will Mars be colonized?

It is part of a long line of chronicle sci-fi series that reuse past events by modifying them: For All Mankind returns for the third time. season June 10, 2022 Since its inception, it has reinvented the history of the Cold War and everything that follows from it, based on real historical facts. But above all, it is distinguished by its realism amazes with the description and staging of space flights. At least the first two seasons.

But what about the third one? The action takes place in the 1990s, more precisely from 1994 to 1996. Competition always forces fury between the USA and the USSR, but this time with a completely different goal, Moon having already exhausted its potential: our neighboring Planet, nicknamed Red planet, Mars. The writers of the series explain that this season they were inspired by real projects, in particular the costumes and spaceships that accompany people to the Red Planet.

Going to Mars: A project that really dates back to the 1990s?

Exploration of Mars is part of the task space race which fueled competition between the United States and the USSR until 1975. So the idea was born long before the 1990s, but not to bring people there. So, in 1964, the American space probe Mariner-4 was sent to fly over the Red Planet, from where it managed to bring back several pictures. But it will have to wait until 1971 to see the machine land directly on the planet, when the Mars 3 space probe manages to send a lander onto Martian soil. However, he only lived for a few seconds before being blown away. storm Martian dust.

Only 5 years later, in 1976, two landers managed not only to set foot on Martian soil, but, above all, to stay there! Within American Viking Program, two machines explored the surface of the Red Planet to detect possible traces of life, and allowed 97% of the planet to be mapped! In total, about forty missions were launched to Mars, and more than half of them ended in failure, ”the message says.ESA.

Colonization of Mars: technically much more complicated than the moon

The missions of the 1970s were followed by twenty years without exploration of Mars, with the exception of a few more or less unsuccessful attempts, such as Phobos and Mars to observe. During this period, manned missions and more advanced programs are imagined to determine if there is life on Mars. Because this one, at the beginning of its existence, should have had conditions similar to those on earth, on which life appeared very early: liquid water must have flowed there 4 billion years ago, and this, for 1.3 billion years! Thus, scientists believe that life could have arisen without necessarily surviving afterwards.

The Red Planet is currently very hostile to any form of life:atmosphere over time became more perfect due to the termination of its dynamo effectwith gradual loss of its magnetic field and then leaving solar winds blast through its atmosphere. It does not protect against cosmic rays and does not preserve heat brought Sun. Thus it is climate cold, accompanied by a desert landscape that awaits any explorer who ventures to the surface of Mars. But that doesn’t stop space agencies from planning such feats.

Time aside: Indeed, where the Apollo missions averaged ten days, for Mars it is something else. only one go to the red planet takes 6 to 9 months. Hence the need for an astronomical amountoxygen and food, not to mention fuel, taking into account the imprisonment of astronauts, the consequencesweightlessness in the long run… so many brakes that make it hard to land on the red planet. Because the latter, unlike the moon, has gravity non-zero, about 37% of Earth’s, which makes any maneuver more dangerous.

It will not be final until the end of the decade, and even then …

Therefore, we are still far from a real manned flight to Mars. But if “For All Mankind” diverges from reality at this point, the scenario is still illustrated with winks.eye which is hard to miss. In particular, the addition of the private company Hélios Aerospace, which increases competition between the USSR and the USA. Impossible not to see the reference to Elon Musk and his company Space X, and in general to the privatization of astronautics. A curious coincidence is added to this not-to-be-missed reference: a space hotel Polaris for all mankind gates the same name as the private space program announced in February 2022 by Space X and Jared Isaacman, which is to have at least three missions. On the occasion of the company’s 20th anniversary, Space X also announced that it will go to Mars long before NASAand Gwynn Shotwell, President and Director SpaceXto announce on CNBC that SpaceX will “get ahead of NASA at least a decade to land astronauts on Mars!

Indeed, Elon Musk intends to get humans to Mars at the end of the decade, although nothing is technologically ready yet. Bye NASA is not going to go there before the decade of 2030, or even 2040. Because the first step, according to the American space agency, is to establish a base on the moon, and to study the effects on the body of a long stay in space: this is the goal Artemis programwhose goal is to send people to the moon in 2025. Thus, it will serve as a test for future martian missionsand Starship, future launcher which, according to Space X, will take on board the future colonizers of Mars, will show itself there.

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