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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mars has long been a source of mystery to us. Numerous studies have shown that the Red Planet show similarities to Earth that could mean that the planet may be able to sustain human life, but are these enough for us to think that permanent human habitation on Mars is a doable feat? 

The Allure of Living in Mars 

The idea of living on Mars is not farfetched. There have been NASA proposals for two-way trips to Mars to see if human habitation for a defined period of time is possible there. Private companies like Mars One and 4Frontiers have been conducting studies for a possible colony on Mars and are in talks for opening applications for those who want to be the first batch in this mission which is slated for 2023. The allure of being pioneers and being able to explore this planet for the first time is definitely going to be one driving factor for those who are interested, especially for adrenaline junkies and adventurers who feel like Mars is the next boundary to conquer. 

Another possible reason is the exploration for minerals. Mars is rich in mineral deposits, and it might even be home to new kinds of minerals that we do not have on Earth. 
Drilling for natural resources is one of the first industries once habitation in Mars is found to be feasible. 

Potential Obstacles

Of course, scientists want to temper the excitement with some words of caution. Humans have not tried one way missions before and even two way missions come with potential problems. A big factor which causes concern is how the brain will react to lengthy space missions such as these. Human behavior can be unpredictable sometimes, especially in alien environments. How humans will cope with the closed space during the trip, the loneliness and the isolation still have to be determined. Simulations to train astronauts or scientists for lengthy underwater research have shown that the prolonged isolation, decreased exposure to the sun and living in an enclosed space for years can change how the brain reacts and can cause alterations in mood, sleep, and overall behavior. 

Another factor to consider is the potential health risks that could arise when humans are exposed to 40% gravity at all hours of the day. Days are also longer than 24 hours, which is just one of the many changes that hopeful colonizers would likely face. How these will affect the function of major organs is yet unknown. 

Although the prospect of colonizing Mars may be an enticing one, it is clear that this feat still requires further study. How the planet and its environment will affect human behavior is a matter of speculation. A cause for concern is Mars One's planned exploration which will be composed of astronauts who are chosen by the public, not by trained and expert scientists. Even NASA scientists are unsure about how to choose the best astronauts for long term, one-way flights to Mars so there is a big question whether or not Mars One's chosen astronauts are suited for the mission. Perhaps it is better to consider two-way trips and limited periods of stay on the Red Planet to give us an idea how exactly it is like to live on Mars. Data gathered on this short-term missions could be very helpful in determining how humans will fare for longer durations on the planet.

Author Bio:
John is a passionate blogger and enjoy writing about science and technology topics.

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