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Living on Mars. Shaun Moss Mars Society Australia Living on Mars. 1. Earth and Mars 2. Why would we want to live on Mars? 3. The challenges of living on Mars 4. What will we need, and how can we get all these things? 5. Health & Fitness

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living on mars

Living on Mars


Mars Society

living on mars1
Living on Mars
  • 1. Earth and Mars
  • 2. Why would we want to live on Mars?
  • 3. The challenges of living on Mars
  • 4. What will we need, and how can we get all these things?
  • 5. Health & Fitness
  • 6. Terraforming
earth and mars
Earth and Mars

Radius: 12746km 6805km

Gravity: 1g 0.38g





Earth and Mars

Mars receives only 43% of the sunshine that Earth does, but has no magnetosphere or ozone layer to block radiation.

why would we want to live on other worlds
Why would we want tolive on other worlds?
  • Survive asteroid impacts.
  • Population growth.
  • Develop many new technologies & systems.
  • Develop a global view of Earth.
  • For the challenge and adventure!
  • Why not?
but why mars
But why Mars?
  • Mars is by far our best choice for colonisation:
    • Close to Earth (and asteroids)
    • Warmth and light
    • Length of day
    • Has seasons like Earth
    • Resources – atmosphere, water, metals
    • Potential for terraforming
the challenges of living on mars
The challenges ofliving on Mars
  • Cold!
  • Very thin and toxic atmo.
  • Water frozen solid.
  • High radiation.
  • Low gravity.
  • Long way from home.
  • No shops!
what will we need to live on mars
What will we need tolive on Mars?
  • Physical needs:
    • Water
    • Air
    • Food
    • Warmth
    • Sunshine
    • Clothing
    • Buildings
  • Technological needs:
    • Electricity
    • Materials
    • Tools
    • Computers & communications
    • Vehicles & fuel
    • Robots
  • Plenty of water, frozen.
  • But: Very cold ice is harder than rock – very hard to dig.
  • Solution: Heat up the ground, cause ice to sublimate, and capture the steam.
  • Also: Recycle.
  • Earth: 20% O2, 80% N2
  • Can make air like this on Mars!
  • N2 from Mars’ atmo
  • O2 from:
    • CO2
    • H2O
    • Fe2O3, SiO2, etc.
  • Recycle using plants (photosynthesis)
  • Mars’ dirt is not suited for life (yet).
  • Food grown in sealed greenhouses.
  • Hydroponics – growing plants without dirt.
  • Aquaponics – fish farming combined with hydroponics.
  • Chickens & eggs
making fertile dirt
Making fertile dirt
  • Process Mars dirt to make it less toxic
  • Add some nutrients
  • Recycle food scraps & manure (human, chook)
  • Use earthworms (they’re also good food for fish and chooks)
clothing etc
Clothing, etc.
  • Hemp – ultra-useful plant
    • Cloth
    • Canvas for shoes, bags, etc.
    • Rope
    • Lubricants, paint, plastics
    • Hemp oil – nutritional supplement, skin cream
  • Later: cotton, synthetics
  • Eventually: wool & leather
  • Low grav & thin air means less material.
  • Biggest problem – radiation.
  • Surface structures – pile dirt on the roof.
  • Underground – protection from radiation, and easier to keep warm (but need big machines to dig).
  • Domes – Glass or plastic, maybe inflatable.
  • Iron & steel
    • Need for many things: buildings, tools, kitchen items, furniture, vehicles, robots, etc.
    • Mars is covered in iron! (rust)
    • Make steel using carbon from atmo.
  • Many other metals available on Mars.
  • Can also make bricks, concrete, glass and plastics from local resources.
  • Nuclear: problematic on Earth, even worse on Mars. Also, would have to find uranium.
  • Solar: possible, but less sunlight on Mars.
  • Wind! Lots of wind on Mars; the air is thin, but high-speed.
vehicles fuel
Vehicles & Fuel
  • What sort of vehicles?
    • Pressurized rovers
    • ATVs (quad bikes)
    • Gliders, planes, balloons
    • Rockets, spaceships
    • Walking rovers

Good fuel: methane (CH4) & oxygen (O2) – easy to make from Mars atmo and water.

  • Will play a big part in colonising Mars.
  • Digging, mining, construction, exploration, transportation.
  • Electronics from Earth.
  • Bodies could be imported from Earth, or made on Mars from steel and other metals.
  • Software – Earth or Mars.
what will we need to bring from earth
What will we need tobring from Earth?
  • Life support equipment
  • Electronics, computers & communications gear
  • Robots, machinery, motors, tools
  • Solar panels, windmills
  • Seeds, animals
  • Cooking equipment
  • Games, books, musical instruments
health fitness
Health & Fitness
  • Low gravity means loss of bone and muscle.
    • Need lots of strength training.
  • High radiation increases risk of cancer & genetic mutation.
    • Stay inside during solar flares.
  • Air, food & water probably better than Earth!
  • Build parks to play in, and to provide sunshine (artificial or real)
sport on mars
Sport on Mars!
  • Rock-climbing, abseiling
  • Hang-gliding
  • Rover racing
  • Gliding, ballooning
  • Flying with wings!
  • Snow sports
  • Making Mars’ environment hospitable to organisms from Earth.
warming mars
Warming Mars
  • Create global warming using PFCs (perfluorocarbons) – a powerful greenhouse gas.
  • Use mirrors in space to reflect more sunlight onto Mars.
  • Heating Mars causes frozen CO2 to sublime, thickening atmo and causing more warming – a runaway greenhouse.
adding nitrogen
Adding Nitrogen
  • To make a thick atmosphere like Earth, need lots of nitrogen. Some on Mars, but probably not enough.
  • Can get more N2 from Venus or Titan. Venus closer, but Titan easier.


98.4% N2

1.6% CH4


96.5% CO2

3.5% N2

adding life
Adding Life
  • With warmth & liquid water, life can grow.
  • Biosphere develops with climate, from polar/alpine towards temperate/tropical.
  • Genetic engineering.
building a biosphere
Building a Biosphere
  • 1. Begin with some hardy radiation- and cold-resistant microbes.
  • 2. As lakes form, add aquatic plants – these convert the atmo to oxygen. Water provides protection from UV.
  • 3. Aquatic animals.
  • 4. Rising oxygen levels cause an ozone (O3) layer to form, providing UV protection on land.
  • 5. Plants on land, then animals.
  • 6. Eventually humans can walk around on Mars without a spacesuit.
robot gardeners
Robot Gardeners!
  • Robots will be much more advanced in 100 years.
  • They can plant seeds in the best spots, and look after the plants and animals.
who s making plans
Who’s making plans?
  • Mars Society – analog studies, research, promoting manned Mars missions (
  • Mars Homestead – designing a future Mars settlement. (
  • 4 Frontiers – company planning to build Mars settlement. (
  • Red Colony – open source plan for colonising and terraforming Mars. (
do you want to go to mars
Do you want to go to Mars?
  • You will need:
    • Skills, education, and/or experience.
    • Some scientific knowledge.
    • Good health & fitness.
    • Good people skills.
    • A range of interests.
  • Good things to study:
    • Engineering, science, technology, medicine
    • IT, electronics, mathematics, robotics
    • Metalworking trades, mechanics
    • Music, writing, film-making

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