Mars Exploration


First let me say that life on this planet is limited. We all know that, if it’s because our sun will expand and boil our oceans or our neighbor galaxy will obliterate us from the upcoming collision of Andromeda. Any way you put it it’s limited. Going to Mars is an easy way out. Think of it as a planet with many benefits. Although its atmosphere is toxic to us humans, we could fix that with an inexpensive fast way to freedom. The atmosphere is made of methane gas which is flammable. If we ignite that methane gas with an open flame we might just be able to burn off all of the methane and leave the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and less argon. Since there are traces of argon in Earth’s atmosphere we should be alright.

The plan seems foolproof, right? Maybe, but you have to remember that in order to ignite methane or any gas you have to have oxygen. Now oxygen is not an atmospheric gas on Mars, but only exists as iron oxides. That’s what gives Mars its red color. Since oxygen is not an atmospheric gas it will be almost impossible to ignite any flammable gas without oxygen as an alternative. My plan is to take oxygen tanks to Mars, put them all over, open the valves and let the gas leak out for a certain period of time until the planet has oxygen present in its atmosphere. This process may take years but will be better and faster than placing domes on the surface of Mars.

Money will be a problem and resources are limited. In many studies, NASA has tried to take fuel out of the equation. It’s not just NASA, the U.S. Navy has also done studies on how to take fuel out of space exploration. During the height of the Cold War the U.S. Navy has thought that if you shoot something out of a giant cannon then you could possibly get out of Earth orbit. My plan is where you take helium balloons to take up the ship into space like a weather balloon. Once it’s in space the rockets will ignite automatically from the low pressure. It will be on a course set for Mars.

Getting a dome to Mars will have its problems such as, running out of funding (which is a possibility for any space program) finding a big enough spaceship to get it there if it’s pre built, if it’s not who would build it once it’s there? The atmosphere on Mars consists mostly of carbon dioxide. About 95% of its atmosphere is carbon dioxide. 3% is nitrogen, 1.6% argon and contains little oxygen and methane. Plants breathe carbon dioxide and put out oxygen. The more carbon dioxide there is the better. Oxygen is a waste for plants seeing that is that they produce it. The soil on Mars has a lot of carbon in it. That’s another plus for the plants because they will flourish with more carbon. The down side is that we have yet to find hydrogen on Mars, without hydrogen, there will be no water, without water there will be no life. We can make hydrogen but it will take years to have the planet to contain it.

I’m not saying that the dome idea is a bad idea; I’m just saying that once we burn up all of the methane gas it would benefit us better than starting out with a glass dome. If we did start out with a glass dome then it would take years to get rid of all of the methane gas. Putting a glass dome on Mars first would not be wise, because if we continue with the plan to burn up all of the methane the surface and atmosphere would get extremely hot. If people were already on Mars while doing this experiment many would most likely die. I say burn up all of the methane gas, then place domes on the surface of Mars.

Planting trees inside the domes would result in producing oxygen. Since Mars gets around 21 degrees Celsius during the day the trees have ideal perfect growing weather, but at night it can get to almost -87 degrees Celsius! Trees cannot grow when it’s that cold outside. If we put domes on the surface with trees inside them and at night close the domes and set the temperature at a sustainable degree, then the trees would grow. Making hydrogen is not very hard, all you have to do is split water into oxygen and hydrogen in a process called electrolysis. If we set up huge factories doing this process all day and night then most likely the oxygen from the trees and the hydrogen from the factories we might be able to make it rain.

Rain, if it rains a lot then the water could fill up inside craters making lakes. More rain could make oceans and in time we could have a planet just like Earth. So here is the whole process, acquire helium filled balloons place them on the rocket that will have the oxygen tanks on it. Take it into space, and then take it to Mars. Place it on the surface and open the valves. Take the test in the atmosphere and see if they come back positive of oxygen, if not take more tanks to Mars and keep doing this process. When enough oxygen is on Mars take a spark to the planet and burn off all of the methane gas. When the only atmospheric gases are carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon; take domes to Mars, plant trees, and wait till more oxygen is present till we can set up factories to make hydrogen. Once it rains and makes lakes send humans to Mars.

Doing this process may take decades and cost a lot of money, but think of all the lives we will save. This planet is going to get over populated one day and we need a back up plan. Mars is most likely going to be the best and closest place to go. We could use our moon as a docking station to refuel on our great journey to Mars. Maybe someday we could go to another planet or the moon around Jupiter most like Earth called Europa. Its atmosphere contains more oxygen and it’s believed that beneath its atmosphere is an ocean of liquid water. To me this planet has seen its better days. If we all leave this planet and go to Mars, Earth will heal itself and one day we can go back to it. My idea may not work and might fail in the first mission, but as long as we try something then it’s bound that something good will come of this. As we embark on this great journey from Earth to Mars maybe we could save our species once and for all.

Isaac Hall

Isaac is a Freshman at Greene County tech

He is 15 years old

11/10/2012