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Saturday, 24 November 2018 00:00

Tiny Living on Mars

At first, the concept seems counterintuitive: If we're going to colonize Mars, which has no known life or settlements, why not do it on a grand enough scale to justify the enormous effort to get there?

On the other hand, though, living in a foreign and demanding environment will likely require every ounce of energy and resources available, so why not be efficient about the process? Besides, who wants to colonize Mars only to wind up living in the equivalent of a stadium-sized commune?

After all, as an article from Open Architecture argues, the concept of simple living is as old as Thoreau. The article goes on to ask, "Today, as we live and get lost in a world of consumption and environmental crises, what are our essential needs?"

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As the world homes in on Mars as the next habitable planet, some scientists think the answer may fall outside our solar system. Two planets show promise as potential environments for human life, a team of researchers recently stated in Science Advances.

The researchers point out that Earth may have become habitable largely due to the UV light it receives. Recent breakthroughs have indicated that UV light plays a role in the building blocks required to form life. The key, they believe, is to find a planet that has similar exposure to ultraviolet light.

To find the two perfect planets, scientists looked outside Earth’s solar system to find planets that had the right exposure to UV light. But there are more factors in play than being in a habitable zone.

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NASA and Elon Musk seem to have very different visions for how life on Mars will work. NASA has discovered, through a recent research study, that Mars simply may not be habitable, even if Earthlings adjust the environment to try to make it that way.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that Mars’ atmosphere isn’t conducive to human life. If the lack of atmospheric pressure doesn’t rupture your organs, you would either suffocate or freeze to death. Musk and NASA have both considered various ways to increase Mars’ atmospheric pressure to allow humans to walk around without wearing a pressurized suit. One idea is to gradually release the carbon dioxide that is trapped on the surface of the planet. Musk’s idea for doing this involves dropping nuclear weapons on its poles.

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