According to the concepts of SpaceX and NASA, the first humans will appear there in this decade, and during their stay, they will carry out several important tasks, then return to Earth. Until now, it was not known exactly in which part of the planet the first base would be built, but now everything is slowly becoming clear.
It happened thanks to interesting research. They were published in the prestigious Geophysical Research Letters magazine. Scientists have identified an area where there is an essential element for human survival in the extreme conditions that exist there. It’s about water, water ice to be exact. There are low temperatures on Mars. This is due to the residual atmosphere and the considerable distance from the sun.
Water cannot remain liquid there. This is also due to the low pressure that causes the ice to evaporate quickly when exposed to the elements. Therefore, its decks are below the surface. Although we’ve known about it for a long time, we had no idea so far that it was so close to the surface.
In recent years, space probes, probes and orbiters have provided us with extremely important data on the resources hidden by this planet. It turns out that in many places water ice is just 2.5 centimeters below the surface. This is great news, because you won’t need any special equipment to mine it, just a spade. As if that were not enough, there is quite a lot of water ice on Mars. It is even enough for the functioning of a big city for many centuries.
The data show that the greatest amount of water ice is found near the planet’s poles. The problem is that the temperatures there are too low for the construction of the first bases there. Astronomers have designated areas that are more convenient for us, that is, those located in mid-latitudes, where the areas are lower than in other parts of the planet. Arkadia seems to be the most promising. It is a plain lying in the Northern Hemisphere.
The lowlands also favor spacecraft. The atmosphere of this planet is 100 times rarer than Earth’s, so it can be very difficult for rockets to land. However, if the bases are located in lowland areas, these additional tens or hundreds of meters of atmosphere will be beneficial for the safe deceleration of spacecraft.
If SpaceX, the American Space Agency or the Chinese Space Agency want to send a manned mission to Mars and build the first colony there, they should consider Arcadia. Scientists now intend to analyze more data. Their goal is to see how water ice is concentrated there throughout all seasons. This is important for the colonizers, who will have to stay on the surface of the Red Planet for a year or two and have constant access to water.
This valuable data will be available through the planned Mars Ice Mapper mission, which will consist in making an extremely precise map of Mars in terms of water ice deposits. The mission is to start in 2025-2026. SpaceX and NASA will therefore have time to better plan the next manned missions to the Red Planet. In the case of Elon Musk, we can expect that the water ice will not be so important in the first landing, so it could be any area of Arcadia.
Source: GeekWeek.pl/NASA/ScienceAlert / Photo. CreativePool / NASA
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