Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

The future of space exploration!

The future of space exploration!

The universe… infinite space, infinite nothingness waiting to be explored.

The universe is huge, unimaginably large. According to what we currently know, it takes 46 billion light years to travel from one end of space to the other.

By comparison, light orbits our planet 7 times in one second, reaches the Moon in 1.1 seconds, and reaches the Sun in 8 minutes. That same light would have to travel 46 billion years to come from one end of the universe to the other.

How much have we actually explored the universe so far? Imagine that the whole universe is planet Earth, how much have we explored then? Probably no more than the living room of our house.

The universe is still unknown to us. So far we have managed to send a man to the Moon, our natural satellite and the closest object we managed to go to with our technology. We have sent rovers to Mars and we have great ambitions to one day send a man there and make a colony.

Is that hard to do? In short, it is, very difficult.

Why? First, the cost of colonization would be more than $10 trillion ($1 trillion = $1,000 billion, $10 trillion = $10,000 billion). $10 trillion is 12% of world GDP. That’s an unimaginable amount of money. If we imagine that someone magically shows up with that money (it is not possible) and that it finances it, we still have a million more problems to solve.

First, they would have to send dozens of unmanned aircraft with all the necessary equipment, which would take months, maybe years, to set up. (Note that we are not on Earth, things on Mars look a lot different.) After that, they would have to resolve the food issue (we don’t know how to grow food on another planet yet), then the issue of water. Even though Mars has water, we don’t know much about it yet.

Furthermore, Mars does not have an atmosphere, so solar radiation would make life difficult there. It is not impossible, but it is not as easy as on Earth.

Imagine this: people who go to Mars would have children there as well. In just a few generations, the inhabitants of Mars would have completely different physical characteristics from us.

Why? The answer is simple — evolution. People would adapt to life in such an environment. We see the same thing on Earth. People from Africa look much different from people who live in the Arctic because they live in much different conditions. The same thing would happen on Mars. Life always finds a way!

How big would that colony be and, more importantly, who would go there? NASA has a plan to permanently settle 100,000 people on Mars in 2100.

People whose skills are needed on Mars would of course go to Mars. So doctors, scientists – specifically, biologists, chemists, physicists, botanists – various engineers, psychologists… People who go to Mars will die there. There is no going back, it’s an unnecessary expense. I get depressed when I have to leave Croatia and come to England, so imagine how hard it is to leave the planet, to never see the sunset on Earth again, to smell the ocean, the smell of forests… It’s not easy. People who are ready for it will be our heroes, people working on the future of all mankind.
Furthermore, some kind of police will be needed on Mars, as where there are people, there are also problems that someone will have to solve.

Mars will need a leader, not a dictator but a leader. One person everyone else can trust. Of course, it is necessary to form some kind of council that would make sure that the decisions made are in accordance with common sense and logic.

Under whose control would that colony be? Of course it cannot gain complete independence immediately, it will be under the control of Earth, but who exactly from Earth would control it? That would most likely be the UN. Mars must not be under the control of one state but of all mankind.

In addition to Mars, our plan is to permanently populate the Moon. There are similar plans as for Mars, but this is easier to do because the Moon is much closer. The journey to the Moon and back takes a week, whereas the journey to Mars and back takes 2 years. NASA is working hard to bring man back to the Moon in its ARTEMIS mission after 50 years.

Exploring space is our future that is getting closer. We will soon be witnessing some fantastic things… because the world is not enough!

Until next reading, stay safe!

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