OCT 03, 2015 8:48 PM PDT

The Difficulties of Putting an Astronaut on Mars for Extended Periods of Time

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


It seems like only science fiction has ever been able to put people on a planet to live in a controlled environment for extended periods of time, but scientists and astronomers really want to accomplish this in real life too, for say, one year or so.

With this desire come challenges; Mars isn't exactly very human-friendly, and as a result, humans would have to live in a pressurized man-man enclosure and wouldn't be able to leave their space suits when leaving the enclosure to explore.

Mars lacks a decent supply of oxygen, and instead, the atmosphere is almost 96% carbon dioxide. The atmospheric conditions also make it difficult to protect potential astronauts from radiation, and effects from distant light without an atmosphere to protect them has been known to cause eye problems for astronauts. Among other things, a body tuned to Earth's gravity can experience odd side-effects in a different gravitational environment, such as problems with sleep, blood pressure, muscles, and more.

Mars isn't overly distant from Earth, but it does take a while to get there. Because Mars is not as close to the Earth as the Moon or the International Space Station are, it can take up to nine months to get an astronaut to Mars. Then, adding in the time they'd spend staying there, and the time to get back, we're looking at close to two years or more away from home.

If astronauts were to go to Mars, they'd need a food supply that would last them, and they would have to rely on constant food supply refreshes, as well as an oxygen system, which would be difficult to achieve because of the distance. Supplying the International Space Station, for example, is much easier because it orbits the Earth and is significantly closer than Mars is.

Will it happen? - Maybe some day, but not with current technology.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 15, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 15, 2019
Eagle vs. Octopus
The animal food chain is somewhat straightforward, with larger animals often hunting smaller animals in an attempt to ensure their own survival. Unfortunat...
DEC 22, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 22, 2019
Ever Wonder What Happens Inside a Clam's Shell?
Most people think of clams as a gooey blob inside of a two-piece shell, but there’s actually a lot more going on inside that shell that you might com...
JAN 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 16, 2020
High-speed 3D Printer to Revolutionize Manufacturing
Two significant hurdles in front of the fast expansion of three-dimensional (3D) printers are speed and scale.  In a recently published study, a team...
JAN 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 19, 2020
Flying Foxes Must be Careful of Crocodiles When Hydrating
Flying foxes absolutely despise the Sun, and with that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that they look for shade whenever possible. One pro...
JAN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 26, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Planet Mercury?
Mercury is the solar system’s smallest planet, and it’s also the one residing closest to the Sun. But while Mercury is commonly shrugged off as...
FEB 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 16, 2020
Just How Powerful is a Piece of Space Debris?
One of the most commonly discussed topics in space science today is the space junk problem, in which space junk collides with objects to create space debri...
Loading Comments...