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The Mars Challenge

 Credit: NASA/KSC

Credit: NASA/KSC

By Jasmina Lazendic-Galloway & Tina Overton

Mars is the only other planet in the solar system where humans could possibly live, but the first colonists there will need some amazing science and meticulous planning to cope with cosmic radiation and find ways to generate air, water, food and energy.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Pale rays of sunlight bleed though the hazy rust-coloured sky. You survived the launch, the journey, descent and landing. All systems are go, so now it’s up to you to take the next step. You are the first person to travel to an alien planet, and humanity’s destiny depends on whether you can make it here and now.

Welcome to Mars, Earth’s red neighbour. If colonists can survive on this new frontier it will be the beginning of the human species’ future as a space-faring civilisation.

But things will not be easy for the first colonists on this lonely planet. How are you going to survive and achieve what you must to make this happen? Do you have what it takes? This may sound like science fiction, but right now various international and independent space agencies are working on manned missions to Mars.

Why go to Mars in the first place? Because it’s the only other planet humans can live on. Mercury is too hot because it’s closest to the Sun. Venus is too hot because it has built up too much greenhouse gases in its atmosphere, which trapped the heat and made Venus even hotter than Mercury – more than 400°C. So the only terrestrial planet left other than Earth is Mars.

So what are the difficulties that the first colonists will face? Some of them are familiar to us, and some of them will be completely new.

We’ll have a small group of people...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.