What Technology Will Take Us to Mars?
Technology has led to vast improvements in our way of life. From the latest cryptocurrency to new online games, advanced health apps to quantum AI, weíve advanced our technological prowess considerably in an incredibly short amount of time.
Not too long ago, colonizing the solar system was a fever dream; a fantasy portrayed as science fiction in popular entertainment. Fast forward to the present day and we have billionaires taking leisure trips to space, with the colonization of Mars quickly becoming a tangible reality.
A large number of space agencies have committed to landing humans on Mars, as well as the research of permanent settlements on the Red Planet. These agencies include public ones like NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, and ISRO, as well as private organizations such as SpaceX, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin.
Several technologies combined represent the key to unlocking interstellar travel. Below youíll find a list of six technologies for space exploration that are currently in development.
Mars is over 30 million miles from Earth. With current propulsion technology, distances of that size are simply too long for human travel. At present, experts seem to agree that nuclear-powered propulsion will greatly alleviate this problem. Technologies like nuclear electric and nuclear thermal propulsion have been touted as the most likely solutions.
Nuclear electric rockets are extremely efficient but lack thrust power. Nuclear thermal rockets arenít nearly as efficient as their nuclear electric counterparts, but they boast a lot more power in terms of thrust and top speed.
Heat shields protect spacecraft against atmospheric hazards like intense heat and friction. There are currently no shields capable of allowing humans to safely enter Marsí atmosphere. However, many space agencies are working on advanced heat shields.†
Weight and spatial considerations limit the amount of heat shielding a spacecraft can have. NASA, for example, is close to completing an inflatable heat shield, one that can maximize surface area coverage whilst still remaining as compact as possible when not in use.
Nowadays, hi-tech spacesuits prioritize modular design and ubiquitous use. Custom-fit designs tend to come from the private sector, while public space agencies tend to focus on capability over comfort.
SpaceX has a rather futuristic-looking spacesuit design which is already in use today. NASAís latest spacesuit, the exploration extravehicular unit (or xEMU), despite looking a bit bulkier than its competition, boasts increased customizability compared to other spacesuits.
Exploring the rough terrain of Mars requires a vehicle with specific capabilities. Astronauts need a vehicle with high mobility, full life support, and several features related to exploration and discovery, such as lab equipment and surveillance tools.
RV-style vehicles are the ideal solution. Astronauts can travel in comfortable clothing thanks to a pressurized cabin. These vehicles should be able to house everything that the astronauts need to survive for extended periods away from their landing site.
An uninterrupted power supply is imperative to survival on Mars. In the same way that we need a constant supply of electricity to keep the lights on, astronauts will need a reliable form of energy that can supply power under any conditions.
Like Earth, Mars has a full day/night cycle. Unlike Earth, it also has dust storms that can last for months at a time, blocking out the sun during the day. For this reason, nuclear power will be more reliable than solar power. The first tests of nuclear power will occur on the Moon, and once proven viable, will be tested on Mars.
If youíre on Earth, itís not very practical to have a conversation with someone on Mars at the moment. Our current means of communication, as instantaneous as they might appear to us, are extremely slow in terms of interstellar communication.
Current radio systems take years to transfer information between Earth and Mars, which is why laser technology is being considered a more viable form of data transfer. NASA proved the efficacy of laser communications in 2013 when they used lasers to transmit data from the Moon to Earth at a much higher speed than any other technology.
As you can no doubt see by now, there isnít just one technology that will land us on Mars. As with most achievements, it will take a combination of advantageous factors for us to reach the Red Planet.†
Though many critical technologies are yet to be perfected, the exponential rate at which we develop technology means that the next significant breakthrough could be just around the corner. At the end of the day, most experts seem to agree that by 2030 we will be more than capable of colonizing the Moon, and perhaps Mars as well.
- As per the Public Gambling Act of 1867, all Indian states, except Goa, Daman and Sikkim, prohibit gambling
- Land-based casinos are legalized, with certain guidelines, in Goa and Daman, as per the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act 1976††
- Land-based casinos, Online gambling and E-gaming (games of chance) are legalized in Sikkim under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules 2009
- Only some Indian states have legalized online/regular lotteries as per and subject to the conditions laid down by state laws. Kindly refer to the same here
- Horse racing and betting on horse racing, including online betting, is permitted only in a licensed premise in select states. Kindly refer to the 1996 Judgement by the Supreme Court Of India here and for more information
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