What life on Mars will really look like - NASA astronaut tells ALL in exclusive interview

ONCE solely in the remit of science fiction, the possibility of a human settlement on Mars is becoming a reality with the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX programme. Here, we speak to a NASA astronaut on what life on the Red Planet, and how we could survive it, really means.

In 1965, NASA's Mariner 4 spacecraft completed the first Martian flyby and six years later, the Soviet Union's Mars 3 lander became the first spacecraft to land on Mars. Since then, there have been numerous successful missions to the Red Planet, including the deployment of four Mars rovers and NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft, which produced a map of the entire planet.

In 2019, efforts to colonise Mars have reached new levels, with the likes of SpaceX seeking to “make life multi-planetary”, with the goal to make space travel accessible to all.

While the ambitions of programmes such as these remain to be tested to their limits, it is not beyond reason to expect major breakthroughs in manned explorations of Mars within the coming decades.

NASA is planning its own manned mission to Mars, currently pencilled in for the 2030s.

However, it will come as no surprise that a mission such as this poses challenges to the human body never before experienced.

Mars’s atmosphere is about one percent the density of Earth’s and is composed of more than 95 percent carbon dioxide.

Mars also lacks a magnetic field like Earth’s, so cannot deflect harmful radiation coming from the space, which would be deadly to humans.

Add the extreme temperatures, lack of gravity, and brutal storms, and it’s not hard to see just how inhospitable this environment would be to an Earthling.

Speaking to, NASA astronaut and physiologist Dr James Pawelczyk explained some of the enormous challenges facing scientists in this field of research.

He said: “Once we move outside the Van Allen belts - the magnetic field around our earth - then we're exposed to a much higher energy radiation forms.

“We also have the solar wind galactic cosmic radiation. And those really wreak havoc on the biology.

“When a high energy event hits DNA it pretty much shatters, and we don't have DNA repair mechanisms that can deal with that.

“So that's one of our big concerns for planetary exploration is how we shield from cosm

However, Dr Pawelczyk explained some of the groundbreaking research he’s involved in when it comes to solving the dilemmas posed by the hazards of Mars.

He said: “You can certainly use exotic forms of shielding like magnetic shielding that really would be the best way.”

But he added there is a long way to go with current research.

“The idea of terraforming Mars is - at least with current technology - kind of unrealistic,” he said.

“Having said all that, you can certainly use the thickness of dense materials - if something has a lot of hydrogen bonds it actually is a very good form of shielding.

“But we would need such a thickness that we really can't take it with us.

“And so what we’ll probably end up using is some form of the Martian regolith (this is Mars soil for us non-scientists), and the Martian surface, to help protect us.”

And this is the key to understanding what life on Mars would really look like: it would be a life lived underground, Dr Pawelczyk predicts.

He said: “Survival on Mars really means going underground. So possibly identifying lava tubes of creating our own thick-walled structures but using the Martian surface.

“Normally, we take everything with us when we go explore a planet. But now we'll be using the resources of that planet to help us stay there.

“So that's why one of the big efforts for looking for water. We know there's a lot of water on Mars…but what we want to do is get to those points to study that water see what it's all about but also understand how to use that in the fractional gravity environment so that we can make oxygen.

“We can combine it with CO2 and we can make other fuels so that we don't have to take it with us from Earth.”

NASA warning: Moving to Mars WON’T save humanity - Astronaut's exclusive interview

ELON MUSK’S SpaceX has made progress towards its goal of “making life multi-planetary”, preparing to test its Starship spacecraft in orbital flight in the coming weeks. But in an exclusive interview, spoke to a NASA astronaut about the setbacks of colonising Mars.

SpaceX’s Starship will fly to an altitude of 14 miles (22.5km) before landing on the same launch pad it will use to take off, according to the application filed with the US Federal Communications Commission, and an orbital test could take place as soon as October 13. Elon Musk's SpaceX hopes to use the craft to service “Moon bases and Mars cities”, and is designed to carry up to 100 people on “long-duration, interplanetary flights”. The progress marks significant progress toward a manned flight to Mars.

SpaceX’s mission is to send a first cargo mission to Mars in 2022 to “confirm water resources, identify hazards, and put in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure”.

In 2024, a second mission with cargo and crew is hoped for, with the goal of building a propellant depot and preparing for future crew flights.

The manifesto states: “The ships from these initial missions will also serve as the beginnings of the first Mars base, from which we can build a thriving city and eventually a self-sustaining civilisation on Mars.”

With frightening forecasts about the future of humanity’s survival on Earth, taking strain with a major drain on natural resources, the possibility of life beyond this planet offers hope and a possible solution to extinction for many.

However, scientists are eager to warn the population that life on Mars is not necessarily going to save us.

Speaking to, NASA astronaut and physiologist Dr James Pawelczyk said: “I can’t speak for Mr Musk and certainly he represents one of the entities in commercial spaceflight that have been so dynamic brought a whole new energy to spaceflight.”

However, he added: “I don’t think [moving to Mars] is a viable solution quite honestly.

“We add about half a million people to the population of this planet every day I can’t imagine a launch capability where we’re taking a half a million people off-planet every day.

“We managed to take approximately 20 people off of the planet every year.

“So based on what we have for current launch technologies we can’t possibly solve population problems here on Earth, so that means will continue to accumulate.”

However, Dr Pawelczyk pointed out that, while colonising Mars might not be what saves our species, there is a lot of valuable work which could end up solving the problems we face on our planet.

He said: “What we can do is we can learn how to use more sustainable forms of energy and better ways.

“And certainly, spaceflight helps with that – the International Space Station runs on solar panels.

“The size of that is approximately the size of a football field, and here it is it’s been orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes for 20 years.”

This technology is already being used to develop infrastructure in space.

“We’ll be using solar electric propulsion to establish the Gateway and lunar orbit,” said Dr Pawelczyk.

“So these kinds of forms of how we can harvest new forms of energy are really some important answers for us here on Earth.”

Mars photo: ESA space agency releases ‘captivating’ image of Red Planet’s polar dunes

Scars On Mars: Raging Gas Explosions and Winds Are Shaping Up The Geology Of Mars

Despite its extreme climatic conditions, Mars has a diverse climatic pattern and geology. Just like Earth, the Red Planet also has sand dunes in a variety of shapes and sizes, that reveal the prevailing wind directions. Scientists studying these martian sand dunes keep a check on how they evolve and all the ways that their sediments get transported around the planet.

During martian winters, a thin layer of carbon dioxide ice blankets the surface of the polar regions. As soon as the spring arrives, this layer sublimates almost instantly, meaning it goes from solid to gas real quick. In areas of dune fields, this springtime defrosting happens from the bottom up, and hence, gas between the ice and the sand gets trapped.

As the ice crack, this gas carrying sand is released violently forming a pattern of dark patches and streaks shown in the picture below.

Looks like the English Cornwall beach, but this picture highlights the north polar region of Mars, captured by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), a joint space project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos.

The picture has also spotted a series of crescent-shaped or 'U-shaped' dunes seen in the right side of the image. These are called 'barchan' dunes as they join and merge into 'barchanoid' ridges of Mars. An observable transition from barchans to barchanoid dunes indicate that secondary winds played a role in shaping the dune field.

The ExoMars TGO was launched with a mission to search signs of life on Mars, and detect the presence of hydrocarbon gases like Methane and other trace gases in the Martian atmosphere. The ESA orbiter used an onboard high-resolution colour stereo camera called CaSSIS that produces accurate digital elevation simulations of the surface of the Mars.

NASA's MRO captures amazing picture of avalanche on Mars

Over the years 'Red Planet' or Mars and its mysteries have caused curiosity in many people. Whether it is about the hidden lakes or the weird structures on the Martian surface, the space and science lovers always expressed their interest to know more about the planet. So NASA recently released another interesting image of a clearly visible avalanche on the red giant.

As per Previously released pictures taken by the Martian rover, it was clear that there are numerous sheer cliffs which look like long striations when captured from a distance.

One of the latest images of these cliffs, taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft's HiRISE camera, showed a dark brown avalanche.

The dusty explosion happened because of the ice and rocks tumbling down a cliff on Mars more than 500 meter high, said NASA while describing the Martian event which which was captured on May 29 but published recently by the agency.

While explaining this phenomenon, NASA said, "Every spring the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the North Pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice and blocks break loose."

These ice blocks are described as kicking up the cloud dust, producing the massive explosion on the Martian surface. It looks like an avalanche, but unlike the bright white one which people usually see on earth, the avalanche on Mars is dark brown which can be seen in the image that was taken at 13:14 local Mars time

But it should be mentioned that this is not the first time that NASA has snapped an avalanche on Mars. In October 2015, NASA shared an image of an avalanche halfway down a large rocky cliff. But that was a white snowy avalanche, just like those on earth.

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