NASA announced Journey to Mars, a challenge in which the public was invited to submit ideas to develop the elements needed to establish a permanent presence of humans on the planet Mars. There are the basic elements to sustain human life, meaning shelter, food, water, breathable air but also communications, exercise, social interaction, and medicine. Other elements can be considered as well because a true colony must be able to go beyond basic needs to thrive.
At the Humans to Mars Summit, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated that the agency is making progress in its mission to send astronauts to Mars. At the last year’s edition of the summit Bolden and other NASA managers already spoke of the plans for such accomplishment.
NASA is working on the technologies needed to send humans to Mars but there are still many problems to solve. For example, in recent days there was the publication of the results of a study that showed the harmful effects of radiation on astronauts. Mice exposed to radiation equivalent to those found in deep space suffered brain damage.
They’ll need to solve these problems but in the meantime NASA turned to the public by launching a challenge to collect ideas on the project of a human colony on Mars. Participants are asked to provide as many details as possible about their idea, which must be technically feasible, economically sustainable and rely as little as possible on support from Earth.
It’s a real contest with prizes for the winners. NASA expects to give up to three awards at a minimum of $5,000 each for a total prize pool of $15,000. A web page has been added where you can find information on how to participate in this challenge.
Last year Charles Bolden already stated that if humans are to survive until the far future they must learn to live on other worlds. NASA is working to make humans a multiplanetary species. It’s a task of a difficulty much higher than any other ever attempted before. Askinf for help from anyone who wants to contribute can bring some progress and involve many more people in an undertaking that can really decide the future of humanity.