The hypothetical colonization of Mars has received interest from public space agencies and private corporations, and has received extensive treatment in science fiction writing, film, and art. Organizations have proposed plans for a human mission to Mars , the first step towards any colonization effort, but no person has set foot on the planet. However, landers and rovers have successfully explored the planetary surface and delivered information about conditions on the ground. Reasons for colonizing Mars include pure curiosity, the potential for humans to provide more in-depth observational research than unmanned rovers, economic interest in its resources, and the possibility that the settlement of other planets could decrease the likelihood of human extinction. Difficulties and hazards include radiation exposure during a trip to Mars and on its surface, toxic soil , low gravity , the isolation that accompanies Mars' distance from Earth, a lack of water, and cold temperatures. Since the 20th century, there have been several proposed human missions to Mars both by government agencies and private companies. All of the human mission concepts as currently conceived by national governmental space programs would not be direct precursors to colonization. Programs such as those being tentatively planned by NASA , Roscosmos , and ESA are intended solely as exploration missions, with the establishment of a permanent base possible but not yet the main goal. Colonization requires the establishment of permanent habitats that have the potential for self-expansion and self-sustenance. Two early proposals for building habitats on Mars are the Mars Direct and the Semi-Direct concepts, advocated by Robert Zubrin , an advocate of the colonization of Mars. SpaceX have proposed the development of Mars transportation infrastructure in order to facilitate the eventual colonization of Mars. SpaceX's aspirational goal is to land the first humans on Mars by Earth is similar to Venus in bulk composition, size and surface gravity, but Mars' similarities to Earth are more compelling when considering colonization. These include:. Although microgravity is known to cause health problems such as muscle loss and bone demineralization , [7] [8] it is not known if Martian gravity would have a similar effect. The Mars Gravity Biosatellite was a proposed project designed to learn more about what effect Mars' lower surface gravity would have on humans, but it was cancelled due to a lack of funding. Due to the lack of a magnetosphere , solar particle events and cosmic rays can easily reach the Martian surface. Atmospheric pressure on Mars is far below the Armstrong limit at which people can survive without pressure suits. This thin atmosphere does not filter out ultraviolet sunlight , which causes instability in the molecular bonds between atoms. For example, ammonia NH 3 is not stable in the Martian atmosphere and breaks down after a few hours. Water on Mars is scarce, with rovers Spirit and Opportunity finding less than there is in Earth's driest desert. Global dust storms are common throughout the year and can cover the entire planet for weeks, blocking sunlight from reaching the surface. Perhaps more importantly, these storms affect electricity production from solar panels for long periods, as well interfering with communications with Earth. Mars has no rain and virtually no clouds, so although cold, it is permanently sunny apart from during dust storms. This means solar panels can always operate at maximum efficiency on dust-free days. And Mars' orbit is more eccentric than Earth's, increasing temperature and solar constant variations over the course of the Martian year. The Martian soil is toxic due to relatively high concentrations of chlorine and associated compounds which are hazardous to all known forms of life. Although there are some extremophile organisms that survive in hostile conditions on Earth, including simulations that approximate Mars, plants and animals generally cannot survive the ambient conditions present on the surface of Mars. Conditions on the surface of Mars are closer to the conditions on Earth in terms of temperature and sunlight than on any other planet or moon, except for the cloud tops of Venus. Humans have explored parts of Earth that match some conditions on Mars. However, the pilots were not exposed to the extremely low pressure, as it would have killed them, but seated in a pressurized capsule. Human survival on Mars would require living in artificial Mars habitats with complex life-support systems. One key aspect of this would be water processing systems. Being made mainly of water, a human being would die in a matter of days without it. Half of all water is used during showers. Potential access to in-situ water frozen or otherwise via drilling has been investigated by NASA. Mars presents a hostile environment for human habitation. Different technologies have been developed to assist long-term space exploration and may be adapted for habitation on Mars. This is minor in comparison to the day journey [44] planned by NASA as soon as the year

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