Future Tech: What life would be like on Mars

On this episode of Future Tech, I want to talk about what life would really be like on Mars. We keep seeing it in the news. People keep talking about traveling to the Red Planet. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has been talking about forming a base station on Mars as a place for us to be able to continue traveling through interstellar space. Mars would be a nice rest stop in space since it does take us about seven months to get there. So imagine if we could form a small city, or a base on Mars, a place for astronauts and people to live and work. Well tune in to hear more about what life would be like on Mars!

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Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

Having a base on Mars is a great idea because it would shorten the next interstellar mission by seven months. So it’s not a bad idea, but it comes with a lot of downsides. First of all, the atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, which obviously we can’t breathe. We need oxygen. So that’s the first thing once you get to Mars, you can’t just jump out of the spaceship and start running around like on Mars, because it’s cold. I mean, it’s pretty much like Antarctica over there. It’s freezing. And the atmospheric pressure on the planet is very low, which means our blood is going to boil or is as they say, and that’s and we don’t want that to happen. So when we first get to Mars, humans, not robots, because we already have a bunch of robots on Mars. And if you’re watching this, instead of listening, you can see in the background I have a Fourcade Mars video playing behind me. So most scientists have agreed.

The most logical way for astronauts to live and work on Mars when they first get there is to just stay on the spaceship that got them to Mars safely. I’ll be in seven months so they’re probably going stir crazy. Yes, they can put on spacesuits. And start walking around on Mars to explore. But they’ll have to come back to the ship to kick off their suit and eat sleep, run their experiments from all the material they gathered on Mars. But it’s at least safe and they’ve talked about creating domes for habitats where maybe the ship is modular. They can remove hats or habitats and place them on Mars a surface and create like you saw in the movie with Matt Damon the Martian he created a very primitive habitat. Maybe they can bring the materials they need to create either very durable inflatable halves or structurally modular halves. And water seems to be a really good way to protect from the radiation because Mars has some pretty damn bad radiation. So you’re going to die from poisoning from cancer. I mean, Mars is an inhospitable planet. It’s not like Earth. There’s no trees to give us oxygen. We would need to terraform and a lot of scientists talk about terraforming the planet over time. But I want to go back to what it would be like to live on Mars. Because that’s kind of what the whole point of this episode is. Because I’ve thought about this a lot and it makes me think to myself, Okay, so people want to go to Mars, right? But when you get there, it’s just a barren desert. Can’t breathe.

There’s probably no water unless human astronauts have to show up and start finding the water because what we’ve found is the robots we’ve been sending there, they’re great for pictures can data we’re getting a lot of great data like on the atmosphere, the materials, the minerals, but you can’t substitute. A highly intelligent geologist that knows how to analyze knows what to look for in the minerals. And let’s face it, astronauts are just faster. They’re humans. They’re quicker than robots. Robots are very task oriented, very like analytical and they’re slow because they’re slow moving, you know, astronauts on Apollo 17 mission, they were able to travel 22 miles on the surface of the moon in just a couple of days, while the Curiosity rover on Mars only traveled about 12 miles in six years. So it’s a huge difference. 22 miles in three days, well, miles in six years. So astronauts are quicker. They’re more logical, they think more. They have creative ways of finding shelter and investigating things easier. Whereas the robots are just task oriented. They’re looking for the things they’re programmed to look for. Online and they don’t have any creative ideas. And we’re gonna need them when we get to Mars. Because there might be solar storms or atmospheric storms and the astronauts need to be protected. So what will it be like to live there?

Okay, so let’s say we land on Mars, and we’re living in the rocket or the spaceship. And yes, we start walking around the surface, we find really nice craters or canyons, lava tubes underground, anywhere where we can potentially start building shelter. Well, that’s going to be number one. Finding water, finding shelter, finding oxygen, okay. So, living on Mars is going to be like living on Earth in the sense that your job is going to be sitting at a desk basically, inside a spaceship at first or maybe a habitat if we’re lucky enough to build something durable but we’re going to be sitting at a desk all day analyzing material, coming up with plans, and then traveling on the surface of Mars, looking for material to maybe build Martian bricks so we can build Martian buildings. That’s another idea. Scientists have come up with this building. Like medieval castle type infrastructures where we can live or just simply go underground Because apparently, our fleshly bodies need about nine feet of Martian soil to protect us from the radiation and the atmosphere and you know, the cold weather so we can go underground and build, you know, habitats underground.

We can build them above ground. There’s lots of different ways of doing it. But the point is, when we first get to Mars, what living there is going to be like, it ain’t going to be fun people. I’m sorry. We’re gonna have to be very careful. You know how we consume our food. The water is going to be really, you know, rations. I remember Matt Damon eating potatoes and then when the crop died because of the atmospheric storm that he had. It killed his property. He was basically starving like, it’s not going to be easy to grow food or have food. So we’re gonna have to figure out really ingenious ways of growing food either in the spaceship or on the habitats or underground so that we can feed the astronauts that are on Mars. And yes, we can send supplies to Mars from Earth but it takes seven months to get there and that also means that the ship that is coming with supplies cannot fail. The mission has to succeed. So, you know, if we’re sending a probe or you know, a small ship or supply cargo ship something, if it crashes or it goes off course, or it fails or it blows up when it launches or anything those that’s seven months, that time starts over again, and astronauts need to figure out how they’re going to survive. A lot of people ask me, Hey, Jason, would you go to Mars if you have a chance? My answer is, heck no. We live on a paradise planet.

We have oceans and forests and animals and sunshine and breathable air, and so many amazing things this world has to offer. And Mars has none of those things, not one. So why would I want to go to a desert and struggle? Just to get food? It doesn’t make any sense. You can just watch this video and look at Mars behind me and get your fill of Mars or put on a virtual reality headset and watch the 4k video of Mars and feel like you’re walking on Mars. Once you do that for five or 10 minutes. That’s it. You don’t need to see anything more. So why would you want to physically spend seven months in a spaceship? Put your life at risk and land on Mars? Then you have to stay in the spaceship. You have to live in the spaceship now Okay, so seven months on the spaceship then you have to live on the spaceship potentially for another year or two while you’re building? A habitat on the surface of Mars. And even then, you can’t just walk around Mars without a spacesuit, you have to always have a space to find. The food is not going to be great. Water is going to be tough unless we can extract it from underground, which is what we are hoping for, which is why we want to send people to Mars. Can we find an oasis of water underground? Can we find ice?

It’s possible that we can terraform the planet Okay, so maybe we can build biodomes and inside these domes, we can build forests and we can live and breathe inside these domes. That’s not a bad idea. But we would also need gasses to terraform the planet like methane and other greenhouse gasses to warm the planet temperature to potentially grow fungi. Fungi is a great source of terraforming. So if we can maybe have fungus all over the planet that can start to make it breathable. You know, there’s lots of different ways of doing it. But it’s gonna take hundreds of years, maybe even 1000 years to get to the point where we’re actually walking around Mars and being able to breathe. So let’s just be real here. The first version of living on Mars is going to be hostile. It’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be dangerous. And it’s not going to be fun for the astronauts that go in the first 100 years I mean, we might have a base on Mars in the next 2030 years. It’s possible with SpaceX and all these other companies out there that are really trying to get a base on Mars. It’s quite possible we see it in our lifetimes. So here’s the thing.

The people that are going to Mars they’re making tremendous sacrifices. They’re basically sacrificing their lives for the betterment of humanity to make us an interplanetary species. And while you and I might not be comfortable going to Mars, they don’t mind because to them, it’s their destiny. They see themselves as explorers. They want that challenge, they want it to be difficult. They thrive in the knowledge that they are making history by making Mars habitable for people in the future. Let’s not forget what Elton John sang in Rocket Man. Mars ain’t the place to raise your kids. I mean, it’s not, although we are going to have to populate the planet because if not, we have to keep sending humans to Mars. Eventually, we’re talking hundreds of years from now. It’ll be generational. We will raise families on Mars and we will populate Mars. And maybe in the year 30–22,000 years from now. We will actually be living on Mars the way that we’re living on Earth in a different way. Maybe you will bring animals there. Maybe we will have forests there. Maybe we will have cities there. But in order to do that, we have to do the hard part, which is the struggle to challenge the hostile environment. And it’s not going to be fun forever, but whoever does go, I and everyone else, we thank you for your sacrifice, for your perseverance, for your dedication and for making history of making humans an interplanetary species. I’d love to hear what you guys think living on Mars is going to be like, leave it in the comments. I’m curious what other things you might want to find out on Mars. Besides all the things I talked about. Leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear it. And as always, I’ll see you in next week’s episode.

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Author

Jason Sherman