Human beings are natural explorers. Since the beginning of time, we have migrated to more and more severe parts of the globe. We managed to populate almost every continent on our planet. Some explorations were a result of simple walking towards new lands while others were fueled by technological development of mankind. We started building vehicles that moved through water and later through air. The real breakthrough, though, came with exploration of space and the first man landing on the Moon. Man put its foot on another celestial body. And as Neil Amstrong said: ‘It is a small step for a man but giant leap for mankind’, meaning that the technological advancement we did to achieve it, resulted in many improvements of our everyday life.
So we could ask ourselves: If man reached the Moon, why shouldn’t we try to reach Mars?
Well, because it’s not as feasible as going to the Moon. Mars is much farther than the Moon and with up-to-date technology it requires at least 2 years to reach it and come back. This means that, if we go there, we must stay there for some time before coming back. That entails other challenges such us building a habitat for the first astronauts going to the Red Planet. For this reason and others, we need to think and foresee all the problems related to the first manned mission to Mars.
Is it worth spending our time on designing this mission?
Yes, everything that we learnabout living on Mars and solving the problems that we facet here will push technology to the next level one more time, just as Apollo did. Life-support systems, tele-medicine, and manufacturing techniques are just some of the many fields which are currently studied for the sake of human exploration of space. Their development not only will help the first settlers on another planet to survive, but will also improve our lives here on Earth.