Back to the moon, or off to Mars?

The European space agency has been thinking of building a settlement on the moon instead of on mars. While NASA much prefers going on mars, China and Russia are thinking of going on the moon, as cited in this article.

 

esa.jpg
An artists rendition of a colony on the moon. Courtesy of the European Space Agency.

 

But where are the possible spots for a base in the solar system? There are several places we could set up a permanent base and that we could Terra-form. I’ve compiled a list of the Pro’s and Con’s of setting a base on the moon and on mars.

 

The moon: (for more information, go to this article.

Advantages:

  • It is closer to earth, so the travel time will be about 4 days, instead of a minimum of 6 months to go on mars.
  • It could be mined.
  • It has water at its poles.
  • With a lower gravity, it costs less to lift off of it.

Inconveniences:

  • It has no atmosphere.
  • The potential for Terra-forming is low.
  • We do not know how low gravity will affect humans in the long term.

 

Mars:

101885main_C91_08781_516x387
An artists rendition of a colony on Mars. Courtesy of NASA.

Advantages:

  • It could be Terra-formed.
  • There is a possibility of life having lived there once, and that it might still be living there. (Although we would have to be careful not to get into direct contact, for our safety, and theirs.)
  • There is also water at its poles.
  • It has a thin atmosphere composed mainly of CO2.

 

Inconveniences:

  • It takes at least 6 months to get there, and 6 months back. We would have to prepare the astronauts for a long period in space, as well as pack supplies for the time they spend getting there and back.
  • It would be long getting mining on the way because of the cost of getting the materials to earth.

 

 

Considering all those aspects, it is really hard to chose witch place we should colonize first. But there is one thing that is not calculable in a pro and con list because it is not measurable. The fact that it would inspire people to send a person on another planet, and to push the final frontier a little further could bring people to work together in a place that is hostile to us all . My personal preference, even though it might not be the most practical one, is Mars.

What would be your pick for the first planet humans should colonize? Is it the moon, or mars, or another planet or moon? Tell us in the comments below.

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