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 are dreaming of going to Mars. Are they crazy, or is there a good reason for going 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 is only the beginning.
SpaceX plans to go to Mars in less than ten years. Musk has 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 of the gravity on Earth. That means that if you weigh 100 pounds on Earth, you will weigh only 38 pounds on Mars. There isn’t any air on Mars, either, so people would need a space suit to go outside.
The Stars and Beyond
Elon Musk has said that SpaceX will first go to the Moon and build a base there before traveling to Mars. The point of going to the Moon is practice.
In the same way, Mars is also just practice. If we can colonize 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. A lightyear is the distance that light travels in one year.
One day in the future, we might be able to build spaceships that can travel near the speed of light. Then humans could go to other stars and planets.