NASA continues to try to find ways that man could set up a permanent home on Mars, but there are many challenges related to taking up residence on the Red Planet. But new research into a possible power source could solve one of the main problems with long-term residency there.

In order to live on Mars, explorers will need an electricity source, but setting up a power station on the planet would be complicated, especially without the supplies and equipment necessary. New research from NASA has discovered a potential answer to that in the form of small nuclear reactors. Called the kilopower reactor, these devices would provide enough power for settlers to set up a home on the planet.

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The Earth has a magnetic field protecting its atmosphere from solar winds. But since Mars lacks such protection, many have speculated that solar winds are responsible for the collapse of the hydrological cycle that was thought to have been in place billions of years ago. The theory is that the winds caused the greenhouse effect to wipe out that cycle, creating the atmosphere seen on the planet today.

However, new research shows that the Red Planet does, in fact, have a protective magnetosphere, created by the solar winds themselves. As the winds blow over the planet’s surface, they activate currents in the ionized upper atmosphere, which generates the magnetic field necessary to protect the planet.

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If you’ve wondered what life might be like on Mars, a new virtual simulation may give you a good idea. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has put together a 360-degree experience that can be viewed on YouTube. The video features a mockup of a Martian city that has been given the name “Wisdom,” along with showcasing projected mining and laboratory projects imagined to be a part of the city in the year 2117.

Viewers can enjoy the experience through a virtual reality headset, but they don’t have to have special equipment to participate. While watching the video, a movement of the mouse can help viewers take a look around the surface of the fictional city.

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