Outer space is one of the biggest unexplored areas for mankind. It is no surprise that construction beyond our planet creates a many challenges for engineers. With safer technologies required for space travel under way,engineers have overcome the problems that space creates for infrastructural construction. In the following sections, we are going to look at the key engineering aspects for setting infrastructure to setup human civilization on Mars.
How is life on Mars ?
Before we get to living on Mars, we need to understand how life on Mars is like. As far as we know, there is currently no conclusive proof of life on Mars. The red planet is harsh, with a thin atmosphere, low temperatures, and high levels of radiation. However, scientific research and exploration shows that Mars once had conditions suitable for life in the past. This is partly, why scientists and engineers are looking at making the planet habitable to human life.
How Engineers are Making Life on Mars Possible?
In order for engineers to establish infrastructure requried for a human civilization on Mars, they must first overcome the engineering challenges specific to the red planet. The following are some of the key challenges that currently hinder human infrastructure on Mars, as well as the approaches scientists and engineers are taking to address them.
1. The Extreme Environment
One of the biggest challenges for life on Mars is the planet’s extreme environment. Mars has a thin atmosphere that provides little protection from harmful cosmic radiation, as well as temperatures that can drop as low as -140°C (-220°F). Additionally, the planet has a much weaker gravity than Earth, which affects the way structures and systems must be designed.
To overcome these challenges, civil engineers are developing a range of innovative solutions. One such solution being explored involves the use of inflatable habitats that can be deployed on the Martian surface and then inflated to create a livable space for human occupants. The construction of these habitats involves the use of radiation-resistant, high-strength materials, and a lightweight design for convenient transport.
2. Energy production
Energy production is also another key area of focus for engineers working on Martian infrastructure. Mars receives only about half as much sunlight as Earth, making solar power a less viable option for energy production. Energy production based on solar is also likely to be affected by the dust storms on Mars. Consequently, engineers are exploring the use of nuclear power due to its reliability and efficiency. The solution entails creating compact, modular nuclear reactors that can be transported to Mars and used to produce electricity for the settlement.
3. Water Supply
Water supply is another critical aspect that engineers must address when designing infrastructure for Mars. At the poles of the planet, there is frozen water as well as subsurface water ice. The potential solution that engineers are working on is to extract and purify this water so that it can be used for drinking, growing crops, and generating oxygen.
Given the planet’s low gravity and thin atmosphere, transportation using conventional vehicles like cars and planes is difficult. To solve this problem, engineers are looking at using rovers and other autonomous vehicles to transport people and goods on Mars.
Part of the solution also involves the development of technologies for manufacturing building materials on Mars so to eliminate the transportation of heavy materials from Earth. For example, 3D printing technologies can be used to create structures and objects from locally available materials, such as Martian soil.
In summary, the efforts of engineers are crucial in establishing a livable civilization on Mars. They are developing the necessary infrastructure and systems to ensure human survival and progress in the planet’s challenging conditions. Hopefully with their remarkable expertise and creativity, they will lead towards humanity’s next grand voyage in space.
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