Living on Mars

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Living on Mars: 

Living on Mars Shaun Moss Mars Society Australia

Living on Mars: 

Living on Mars 1. Earth and Mars 2. Why would we want to live on Mars? 3. The challenges of living on Mars 4. What will we need, and how can we get all these things? 5. Health & Fitness 6. Terraforming

Earth and Mars: 

Earth and Mars Radius: 12746km 6805km Gravity: 1g 0.38g Luna Deimos Phobos


Earth and Mars Mars receives only 43% of the sunshine that Earth does, but has no magnetosphere or ozone layer to block radiation.

Why would we want to live on other worlds?: 

Why would we want to live on other worlds? Survive asteroid impacts. Population growth. Develop many new technologies & systems. Develop a global view of Earth. For the challenge and adventure! Why not?

But why Mars?: 

But why Mars? Mars is by far our best choice for colonisation: Close to Earth (and asteroids) Warmth and light Length of day Has seasons like Earth Resources – atmosphere, water, metals Potential for terraforming

The challenges of living on Mars: 

The challenges of living on Mars Cold! Very thin and toxic atmo. Water frozen solid. High radiation. Low gravity. Long way from home. No shops!

What will we need to live on Mars?: 

What will we need to live on Mars? Physical needs: Water Air Food Warmth Sunshine Clothing Buildings Technological needs: Electricity Materials Tools Computers & communications Vehicles & fuel Robots


Water Plenty of water, frozen. But: Very cold ice is harder than rock – very hard to dig. Solution: Heat up the ground, cause ice to sublimate, and capture the steam. Also: Recycle.


Air Earth: 20% O2, 80% N2 Can make air like this on Mars! N2 from Mars’ atmo O2 from: CO2 H2O Fe2O3, SiO2, etc. Recycle using plants (photosynthesis)


Food Mars’ dirt is not suited for life (yet). Food grown in sealed greenhouses. Hydroponics – growing plants without dirt. Aquaponics – fish farming combined with hydroponics. Chickens & eggs

Making fertile dirt: 

Making fertile dirt Process Mars dirt to make it less toxic Add some nutrients Recycle food scraps & manure (human, chook) Use earthworms (they’re also good food for fish and chooks)

Clothing, etc.: 

Clothing, etc. Hemp – ultra-useful plant Cloth Canvas for shoes, bags, etc. Rope Lubricants, paint, plastics Hemp oil – nutritional supplement, skin cream Later: cotton, synthetics Eventually: wool & leather


Buildings Low grav & thin air means less material. Biggest problem – radiation. Surface structures – pile dirt on the roof. Underground – protection from radiation, and easier to keep warm (but need big machines to dig). Domes – Glass or plastic, maybe inflatable.


Materials Iron & steel Need for many things: buildings, tools, kitchen items, furniture, vehicles, robots, etc. Mars is covered in iron! (rust) Make steel using carbon from atmo. Many other metals available on Mars. Can also make bricks, concrete, glass and plastics from local resources.


Electricity Nuclear: problematic on Earth, even worse on Mars. Also, would have to find uranium. Solar: possible, but less sunlight on Mars. Wind! Lots of wind on Mars; the air is thin, but high-speed.

Vehicles & Fuel: 

Vehicles & Fuel What sort of vehicles? Pressurized rovers ATVs (quad bikes) Gliders, planes, balloons Rockets, spaceships Walking rovers Good fuel: methane (CH4) & oxygen (O2) – easy to make from Mars atmo and water.


Robots Will play a big part in colonising Mars. Digging, mining, construction, exploration, transportation. Electronics from Earth. Bodies could be imported from Earth, or made on Mars from steel and other metals. Software – Earth or Mars.

What will we need to bring from Earth?: 

What will we need to bring from Earth? Life support equipment Electronics, computers & communications gear Robots, machinery, motors, tools Solar panels, windmills Seeds, animals Cooking equipment Games, books, musical instruments

Health & Fitness: 

Health & Fitness Low gravity means loss of bone and muscle. Need lots of strength training. High radiation increases risk of cancer & genetic mutation. Stay inside during solar flares. Air, food & water probably better than Earth! Build parks to play in, and to provide sunshine (artificial or real)

Sport on Mars!: 

Sport on Mars! Rock-climbing, abseiling Hang-gliding Rover racing Gliding, ballooning Flying with wings! Snow sports


Terraforming Making Mars’ environment hospitable to organisms from Earth.

Warming Mars: 

Warming Mars Create global warming using PFCs (perfluorocarbons) – a powerful greenhouse gas. Use mirrors in space to reflect more sunlight onto Mars. Heating Mars causes frozen CO2 to sublime, thickening atmo and causing more warming – a runaway greenhouse.

Adding Nitrogen: 

Adding Nitrogen To make a thick atmosphere like Earth, need lots of nitrogen. Some on Mars, but probably not enough. Can get more N2 from Venus or Titan. Venus closer, but Titan easier. Venus: 96.5% CO2 3.5% N2 Titan: 98.4% N2 1.6% CH4

Adding Life: 

Adding Life With warmth & liquid water, life can grow. Biosphere develops with climate, from polar/alpine towards temperate/tropical. Genetic engineering.

Building a Biosphere: 

Building a Biosphere 1. Begin with some hardy radiation- and cold-resistant microbes. 2. As lakes form, add aquatic plants – these convert the atmo to oxygen. Water provides protection from UV. 3. Aquatic animals. 4. Rising oxygen levels cause an ozone (O3) layer to form, providing UV protection on land. 5. Plants on land, then animals. 6. Eventually humans can walk around on Mars without a spacesuit.

Robot Gardeners!: 

Robot Gardeners! Robots will be much more advanced in 100 years. They can plant seeds in the best spots, and look after the plants and animals.

Who’s making plans?: 

Who’s making plans? Mars Society – analog studies, research, promoting manned Mars missions ( Mars Homestead – designing a future Mars settlement. ( 4 Frontiers – company planning to build Mars settlement. ( Red Colony – open source plan for colonising and terraforming Mars. (

Do you want to go to Mars?: 

Do you want to go to Mars? You will need: Skills, education, and/or experience. Some scientific knowledge. Good health & fitness. Good people skills. A range of interests. Good things to study: Engineering, science, technology, medicine IT, electronics, mathematics, robotics Metalworking trades, mechanics Music, writing, film-making


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