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So you want to live on Mars. Perhaps it’s the rugged terrain, beautiful scenery, or vast natural landscape that appeals to you. Or maybe you’re just a lunatic who wants to survive in a lifeless barren wasteland. Whatever your reasons, there are a few things you should know:
1: You’re going to need a pressure vessel.
Mars’s atmospheric pressure is less than one percent of Earth’s. So basically, it’s nothing. Being on the surface of Mars is almost the same as being in deep space. You better bring a nice, sturdy container to hold air in. By the way, this will be your home forever. So try to make it as big as you can.
2: You’re going to need oxygen.
You probably plan to breathe during your stay, so you’ll need to have something in that pressure vessel. Fortunately, you can get this from Mars itself. The atmosphere is very thin, but it is present and it’s almost entirely carbon dioxide. There are lots of ways to strip the carbon off carbon dioxide and liberate the oxygen. You could have complex mechanical oxygenators or you could just grow some plants.
3: You’re going to need radiation shielding.
Earth’s liquid core gives it a magnetic field that protects us from most of the nasty crap the sun pukes out at us. Mars has no such luxury. All kinds of solar radiation gets to the surface. Unless you’re a fan of cancer, you’re going to want your accommodations to be radiation-shielded. The easiest way to do that is to bury your base in Martian sand and rocks. They’re not exactly in short supply, so you can just make the pile deeper and deeper until it’s blocking enough.
4: You’re going to need water.
Again, Mars provides. The Curiosity probe recently discovered that Martian soil has quite a lot of ice in it. About 35 liters per cubic meter. All you need to do is scoop it up, heat it, and strain out the water. Once you have a good supply, a simple distillery will allow you to reuse it over and over.
5: You’re going to need food.
Just eat Martians. They taste like chicken.
6: Oh, come on.
All right, all right. Food is the one thing you need that can’t be found in abundance on Mars. You’ll have to grow it yourself. But you’re in luck, because Mars is actually a decent place for a greenhouse. The day/night cycle is almost identical to Earth’s, which Earth plants evolved to optimize for. And the total solar energy hitting the surface is enough for their needs.
But you can’t just grow plants on the freezing, near-vacuum surface. You’ll need a pressure container for them as well. And that one might have to be pretty big. Just think of how much food you eat in a year and imagine how much space it takes to grow it.
Hope you like potatoes. They’re the best calorie yield per land area.
7: You’re going to need energy.
However you set things up, it won’t be a self-contained system. Among other things, you’ll need to deal with heating your home and greenhouse. Mars’s average daily temperature is -50C (-58F), so it’ll be a continual energy drain to keep warm. Not to mention the other life support systems, most notably your oxygenator. And if you’re thinking your greenhouse will keep the atmosphere in balance, think again. A biosphere is far too risky on this scale.
8: You’re going to need a reason to be there.
Why go out of your way to risk your life? Do you want to study the planet itself? Start your own civilization? Exploit local resources for profit? Make a base with a big death ray so you can address the UN while wearing an ominous mask and demand ransom? Whatever your goal is, you better have it pretty well defined, and you better really mean it. Because in the end, Mars is a harsh, dangerous place and if something goes wrong you’ll have no hope of rescue. Whatever your reason is, it better be worth it.
A seriously funny book. I like how it doesn't try to dumb down anything technical and the detail used to describe everything done in the book. Read morePublished 11 minutes ago by Rodrigo Gonzalez
Really enjoyed this. If you have a geeky mechanical way of looking at things you will love this book. Read morePublished 1 hour ago by Timothy King
Not my type of novel even for science fiction. If you like technical detail, you may enjoy the read. I found the plot boring and not a page turner.Published 1 hour ago by Maurice H. Unger
Having accepted the basic premise of this story, I found the rest of it plausible and gripping. It is well written, very engaging and I was sorry to finish it so quickly. Read morePublished 3 hours ago by Amazon Customer
It was a very fun reading experience. The author thoroughly researched about space missions and that was reflected well in the book. Read morePublished 3 hours ago by another Kim
Extremely well thought out, and fast paced book. Crazy page turner. Everyone I know who I recommend this has finished it in 3 days or less once they started it. Awesome!Published 6 hours ago by Blake H. West
A great story. People are right to love it. First person narration really brings you in, and it helps that the character is very likable. Read morePublished 9 hours ago by EM
A super page turner. Great characters and plausible happenings. Will be a great movie - alas they will probably have to slice out some superb bits.Published 10 hours ago by Michael A. Temple
I bought this book as a birthday gift for my brother cause it was like watching a really good action, sci-fi adventure movie! Read morePublished 10 hours ago by Amazon Customer