Low atmospheric pressure on Mars means it will always be too cold to colonize, say scientists

A new study suggests that Martian colonists would have to remain locked in their space suits, since humans can not survive on the planet without life support systems. This image shows a section of the surface of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover of NASA in October 2015

Future settlers on Mars will be permanently confined to their life support suits, the scientists warned.

The dreams of being able to artificially warm the atmosphere to allow it to support human life, a process known as "terraforming," will remain confined to the realm of science fiction, according to a new study.

According to one study, there is not enough carbon dioxide on the red planet for future colonies to alter the atmosphere and bring it closer to Earth.

As a result, Mars will always be too cold for humans to survive without the help of their space suits.

The scientists said that humanity can no longer think of Mars as a "safety valve" in case things go badly on our planet.

They asked humanity to address and respond to the most pressing problems on Earth, since this is indeed an easier solution than colonizing a distant world.

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A new study suggests that Martian colonists would have to remain locked in their space suits, since humans can not survive on the planet without life support systems. This image shows a section of the surface of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover of NASA in October 2015

A new study suggests that Martian colonists would have to remain locked in their space suits, since humans can not survive on the planet without life support systems. This image shows a section of the surface of Mars taken by the Curiosity rover of NASA in October 2015

The researchers, from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Northern Arizona, analyzed the 20-year data on the Martian surface collected by various off-road vehicles and spacecraft.

This information was used to calculate how much carbon dioxide is stored on Mars, a crucial factor in determining whether humanity has the opportunity to "terraform" the red planet surface.

Terraforming is the process of artificially changing the climate and surface of a planet to allow humans to exist without life support systems.

Scientists had theorized about the use of carbon dioxide to trigger a chain of warming events that would warm the Martian climate until it was a temperature at which it would be habitable for Earth's plants and animals.

But the latest study shows that, even if humanity possesses the technology to extract it, there is not enough carbon dioxide on Mars to make its air breathable.

In the best of cases, the CO2 available on the planet would triple the atmospheric pressure of the planet, one-fiftieth of that needed to make it habitable for future settlers.

The atmospheric pressure on Mars means that it will always be too cold for people, even if scientists artificially increase the temperature of the planet's surface (file photo)

The atmospheric pressure on Mars means that it will always be too cold for people, even if scientists artificially increase the temperature of the planet's surface (file photo)

The atmospheric pressure on Mars means that it will always be too cold for people, even if scientists artificially increase the temperature of the planet's surface (file photo)

In turn, this would only raise the average surface temperature of minus 55 ° C (-67 ° F) to less than 10 ° C (18 ° F), leaving it as cold as the south pole in winter.

Any water that remains on Mars would freeze or evaporate, the results showed.

Mars does not have an ozone layer and atmospheric pressure is around 0.6% of the Earth's average at sea level.

According to the co-author of the study, Professor Bruce Jakosky, raising this figure with the known CO2 stored on Mars would require technologies "beyond our current scope".

Speaking from the United States, he explained: "It will not be possible to take the carbon dioxide that is already present on Mars and return it to the atmosphere to create a warmer planet.

WHAT ARE NASA'S PLANS FOR A MISSION DIRECTED TO MARS IN THE 2030s?

Mars has become the next giant leap for the exploration of space by humanity.

But before humans reach the red planet, astronauts will take a series of small steps back to the moon for a one-year mission.

The details of a mission in the lunar orbit have been revealed as part of a timeline of events leading to missions to Mars in the 2030s.

NASA has outlined its four-stage plan (in the photo) that it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars at the Human to Mars Summit, held yesterday in Washington DC. This will involve multiple missions to the moon in the coming decades

NASA has outlined its four-stage plan (in the photo) that it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars at the Human to Mars Summit, held yesterday in Washington DC. This will involve multiple missions to the moon in the coming decades

NASA has outlined its four-stage plan (in the photo) that it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars at the Human to Mars Summit, held yesterday in Washington DC. This will involve multiple missions to the moon in the coming decades

In May of 2017, Greg Williams, assistant deputy administrator of policies and plans at NASA, outlined the four-stage plan of the space agency that he hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars, as well as their planned time.

Phase one and two It will involve multiple trips to the lunar space, to allow the construction of a habitat that will provide a preparation area for the trip.

The last piece of hardware delivered would be the real Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to take a team to Mars.

And a simulation of a year's life on Mars will take place in 2027.

Phase three and four will begin after 2030 and will include sustained manned expeditions to the Martian system and the surface of Mars.

"There simply is not enough CO2 left on Mars, and in a place where it could be easily mobilized, to provide significant warming. The majority is not accessible.

Scientists have spent decades debating whether a Mars colony is the best chance for survival for humanity if things go wrong on our planet.

The late Professor Stephen Hawking warned that humanity faces the extinction of an asteroid attack or a pandemic unless we can move to another world.

But the study published in Nature Astronomy found that making Mars habitable for plants and animals, including humans, remains in the domains of science fiction.

Professor Jakosky said: "I think it will be much easier to respond to and tackle the problems on Earth than to change the climate on Mars."

"We should not think of Mars as our place of" safety valve "from which we can escape."

It has been proposed that greenhouse gases stored in Martian rocks and polar ice caps could be released into the atmosphere to make it thicker, heat the planet and allow liquid water to remain on the surface.

Professor Jakosky and his team focused on the planet's available CO2, the only greenhouse gas present in sufficient quantities to provide significant warming.

They used data from rovers and spacecraft such as the Mars Atmosphere, the Volatile Evolution Mission, the Mars Express, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

This allowed them to identify all possible CO2 deposits above and below the ground and their possible contributions to the atmosphere, even taking into account their continued flight into space.

Professor Jakosky said that his calculations revealed that "terraforming" to Mars in a way that would allow terrestrial life, including humans, to survive without the need for life support systems, is still beyond us.

He said: & # 39; Even if there were enough CO2 available, it would not be feasible to mobilize it. Doing so would require processing a significant fraction of the surface to release it into the atmosphere, which is beyond current technology.

Terraforming Mars is not possible in the immediate future by utilizing available CO2 resources on the planet & # 39;

Both Space X by Elon Musk and Virgin Galactic by Richard Branson want to establish communities on Mars.

NASA, which plans a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s, has said that the first person to step on the planet is already alive on our planet today.

It had been suggested that humans could live there in 15 to 20 years, although this would first have to be in capsules and wearing special protective space suits.

Professor Jakosky said: "Other people have shown that high-efficiency greenhouse gases could be manufactured, in theory, and used to heat the planet.

"This would require a large-scale manufacturing and industry that is beyond our current capabilities." When we could do this is not clear.

"A first step, of course, is to send humans to Mars on a first mission, or to create habitats that can support a long-term human mission.

– Remember, we have not done that, and we have not even sent a spacecraft that can collect samples and return them to Earth to study.

"These types of missions are incredibly simple compared to the long-term room of another planet."

The full findings were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

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