Imagine living on the South Pole. It would be freezing, and you couldn’t go outside. Not much fun, right? Now, imagine living on the planet Mars. It would be even worse. Despite this, many people dream of going to Mars. Are they crazy, or is there a good reason to go to the red planet?
One person working to travel to Mars is billionaire Elon Musk. In 2018, Musk’s company SpaceX sent an electric car to space. Two years later, he sent humans into orbit. This was only the beginning. SpaceX plans to go to Mars in less than ten years. Musk said that he wants to start a city on Mars as early as 2050.
That sounds fun, but living on Mars will be hard. The gravity on the red planet is only 1/3 the gravity on Earth. That means that if you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you will weigh only 38 pounds on Mars. This could make people sick, as they could lose bone and muscle.
There isn’t much air on Mars, either, so people would need a spacesuit to go outside.
So, why go?
The Stars and Beyond
Elon Musk has said that SpaceX will first build a base on the Moon before traveling to Mars. That would help scientists practice for a Mars trip in the future.
In the same way, going to Mars is also just practice. If we can settle on Mars, we can then learn how to leave our solar system and visit other stars.
In the last 30 years, scientists have discovered that the universe is full of stars with planets. The planets outside our solar system are called exoplanets. Some of these planets look like Earth, and the closest ones are only about five lightyears away.
One day in the future, we might build spaceships that can travel near the speed of light. Then humans could go to other stars and planets.