Thursday, January 14, 2016
There is a drumbeat of publicity and PR for settling worlds outside of our own -- e.g., Mars, the moon and eventually, a planet in another solar system. This article discusses just how difficult it would be. It would take many years to assemble the materials, technology and individuals and many more to complete a mission, barring new physics or scientific breakthroughs. Essentially, we are stuck with earth, and we had better take care of it. There is no place else to go. Even a much-touted Mars mission has difficulties beyond imagining. How do you sustain individuals for the six-month travel time to get there and how do you get them back? There are issues of air, food, sanitation, psychology, physical health, shielding from cosmic rays, fuel to get there and fuel to get back. There is nothing on Mars that we know of today that can help with any of these needs. It takes 10 minutes for a radio transmission to transit from Mars to Earth. Imagine the time it would take for communication to another solar system. Space enthusiasts dream of possibilities but reality bites.