Becoming a Multi-Planet Species

  • The race to Mars is on.
  • NASA wants to put humans on the Red Planet by the 2030s.
  • For our long-term survival we must colonise other worlds.
  • Say you wanted to set up a long-term base on the Moon or Mars
  • what would you need?
  • If it’s going to be sustainable we have to learn to live off the land. But what would that mean?
  • If you take the carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere and water which we know exists, and you combine that with a little bit of 19th Century chemical engineering, you have water to drink, oxygen to breathe, with the methane and oxygen you actually have made rocket fuel


  • At an average distance of 140 million miles, Mars is one of Earth’s closest habitable neighbors.
  • Mars is about half again as far from the Sun as Earth is, so it still has decent sunlight. I
  • t is a little cold, but we can warm it up. Its atmosphere is primarily CO2 with some nitrogen and argon and a few other trace elements, which means that we can grow plants on Mars just by compressing the atmosphere.
  • Gravity on Mars is about 38% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around. Furthermore, the day is remarkably close to that of Earth.
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