One of the biggest dreams of humanity always has been discovering the mysteries of the universe. Nevertheless, despite we have advanced a lot from the beginning of time, there are tons of things that we do not understand.
From the first centuries, people watch the moon without know certainty of what this shining circle was. Before starting to dream with the moon the human used to think that the earth was flat and not round.
With the pass of time, this curiosity becomes more into a dream and a goal to set. After several tries, finally, humanity reaches the moon and walks on it. But, the moon only is a little piece of the universe, and we did not conform to just visit the moon.
The scientist started their researches and determine that there are too many more planets and components of our universe. In the beginning, all was motivated by curiosity, but with the pass of the years, life on earth starts to be harder.
The contamination and global warm pass to be a joke to reality, probably if old generation would take the right decisions we would not living what we do today. But, it is something that we could not change, and for this reason, scientists have been working to find a planet where we can go.
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The planet that is the best option for the moment is Mars which counts with similar conditions to earth. However, it is not as easy to go to mars as go to the moon. Time has to keep passing, and different organizations are working on the mission to go to mars.
At this moment is when Elon Musk appears to work with NASA and propose us the SpaceX mars mission. But, who is this man, and why he thinks that he can finally get the travel to mars? Here we are going to tell you more about it.
Who is Elon Musk?
Before start to talk about the important SpaceX mars mission, we want to tell you a little bit more about Elon Musk who is the mind behind this mission. Elon Musk is a prodigious physicist and inventor who has demonstrated from a young age to be full of surprises.
When he had just nine years old, he started programming with a Commodore VIC-20. Like it was simple, he designed and programmed a videogame named blaster. For sure, he did not make it for free because he could sell it for around 500 USD.
But, how Elon Musk created his empire? Despite being a prodigy, Musk had to works hard and smart to create his empire. First, he created the software company Zip2, with the past of the time he sold it to create X.com. This company was dedicated to financial systems which use to create the bases of PayPal.
Then PayPal calls the attention of eBay that buy it for 1500 M$ of course, Elon Musk was the majority shareholder. For this reason, the sale of PayPal gave him 180 M$, and the magnate uses 100M$ of them to found SpaceX. And this is how Elon Musk starts the project to discover the universe and the famous mission to Mars.
Humanity is looking for a Plan B.
The reason why all the scientific community is looking for a second chance on mars is that life on earth has become unsustainable. For no one, it is a secret that the contamination of the planet earth is one of the biggest problems of our era.
Besides, humanity is not willing to change its lifestyle of consumerism and exploitation of natural resources. Humanity is consuming the resources of 1,75 earths.
As you can understand, we only have ONE earth, and we are using the resources of more than one. Also, almost all the resources are not removable, which means that they have a finite time. In this way, as the style of life of humanity is too impossible to change in the time we need, the scientific community is looking for a plan B.
It could sound like a plan that became from the Wall-e movie, but maybe the Wall-e movie is just a trailer of what we are going to live if we do not change or find another way to live. However, the plan to find another planet is not as simple as people think because NASA or other organizations has not found a planet like ours.
We have to remember that our position on the solar system is privileged because is not as close to the sun but not too far from it. It is the perfect position to do not freeze or burn, and of course, there are some minimal conditions for life as we know, and the heat is one of them.
Also, until now, our planet is the only one with an ecosystem capable of produce oxygen that is part of the key to life. After all, the majority of the organisms on earth are aerobic, which means that just use oxygen as the main element for their metabolism. For this reason, it is so difficult to find a new planet to go to.
Why mars can be a chance?
There are different reasons why mars are the closest option to go. First of all, Mars is one of the closest planets to earth and the sun. There are only 140 million miles from mars to earth which makes it a good candidate.
Second, its related distance with the sun makes it a little bit cold than the earth, but not as hot as Neptune. In this way, life could be possible at the mars temperature, also if it is a little bit cold we can create technology to warm it a few.
Third, if we talk about the atmosphere of Mars, it is conformed mainly by CO2, argon, and nitrogen. It means that if we create some system to compress the atmosphere, we are going to be able to make plants grow.
Finally, talking about the gravity of mars, it is a little bit less than on earth, but it does not represent a limitation. Also, the day on mars last almost the same as on earth, so it can help a lot with the adaptation.
Main features of Space X mars mission.
The Space X mars mission is based basically on two parts:
- The creation of the starship and the elements needed to go to mars
- The execution of the mission.
The starship technically is formed of two: The Super Heavy Rocket and SpaceX’s starship spacecraft. They are designed to be reusable and capable to use more than 100 tons. Also, it can be refueling and leveraging H2O and CO2 over the surface of mars.
The mission to arrive on earth has 6 phases from launch the Starship while the booster returns to earth until finish the refueling process on mars to return to earth. The mission is very complicated, but they have a remarkable organization.
Limitations of Space X mars mission.
For sure, everything cannot be perfect, there are some limitations that the Space X mars mission has, and those limitations are what they are looking to overcome to make the mission possible.
If we talk about limitations, certainly one of the biggest ones is the size. We have to remember that for all the space missions always is needed make some calculations to determine how much fuel they need based on the weight they will have.
In this way, they have to calculate the things they need because the effective weight is very little compare with the weight of the starship, equipment, and fuel. For this reason, they plan to refuel the starship on the space with another vehicle launched separately.
It will let the starship can reduce its size and its weight. Besides, it also means that they can take more fuel for the mission to Mars. We have to know that most of the fuel used for the starships is spent during launch. So, the plan to refuel the starship fix in some way the size limitation.
Despite mars is relatively near to earth, it does not mean that we can be on mars in a week. The travel to mars can last around nine months according to the Hohmann maneuver. This maneuver is thinking to use only one burn to get in the elliptical orbit between one planet and another one.
However, the limitation of this maneuver is that they only can do it every two years. It is why the orbits of the earth and mars are different and only match every two years. But, SpaceX propose do the travel in less time, six months.
For sure, it will fix the time limitation, but it will cost too much fuel to be able to do it. But, we have to remember they plan to have more fuel with the refueling vehicle. So, it could work to reduce not only the size if not the time.
If the before limitations are overcome, they also have to defeat the landing process. First of all, landing on earth is easier because the interaction of the spaceship with the atmosphere decreases the speed for the drag traction which it generates.
However, mars do not have this drag effect because the atmosphere of mars is different. The atmosphere of Mars is so thin that think of a safe landing like we known on earth is impossible.
For this reason, it is necessary to use some alternative methods like airbags or thrusters. But, if they use the thruster method, they have to use more fuel. In this way, more fuel is more weight and size that would vary the previous limitations.
One of the biggest limitations is the life on mars because despite there are some similarities between earth and mars, are more differences. Starting with the similarities, we only have one: the day on mars lasts 24 hours and 37 minutes that which is almost the same as on earth.
Now, if we want to talk about the differences, the heat is certainly a huge limitation. The temperature on Mars can reach 30 °C that could sound very good, but it also can reach -140 °C. As you can understand, that temperature is not viable for humans.
The lower temperature on earth is on the south pole during winter. It can be until -64 °C. In this way, it is necessary to make a study to determine which is the best location on mars with the best temperature.
On the other hand, if we talk about the air of mars, it is not breathable because it is composed mostly of CO2 and nitrogen. For this reason, SpaceX’s mission plan to bring to mars all the needed equipment to build a greenhouse and also a station to make the fuel come back to earth.
Be back on earth safe.
Be back on earth safe is the final limitation because when the spaceship starts to get into the atmosphere of the earth, all the crew of the mission is going to suffer the heat of getting in the atmosphere and the huge G force. For this reason, it is important to reduce the input speed to avoid this kind of problem.
The dream is near to become a reality.
As you can see, the plan to go to Mars can be too difficult, but all the team that works on SpaceX and NASA want to become a reality. Besides, one of the drivers of this project is Elon Musk. So, if we compare the SpaceX mars mission with his other inventions, we can say that this mission promise to be a total success.
We only have to wait, have hope, and help our planet. After all, if we find another planet, we cannot pretend to do the same that we do here.