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Colonizing Mars

In Let's Not Move to Mars, Ed Regis explains why colonizing Mars is an "outlandish notion".

...the entrepreneur Elon Musk, who runs a rocket company called SpaceX, has said he hopes to send the first people to Mars in 11 to 12 years.
Unfortunately, this Mars mania reflects an excessively optimistic view of what it actually takes to travel to and live on Mars, papering over many of the harsh realities and bitter truths that underlie the dream. ...
Crew members are in microgravity for the entire trip, with consequent health problems: Your bone mass wastes away, your teeth become more susceptible to cavities, your body’s muscles, including your heart, and even the small muscles that control your eye movements, atrophy....
Mars... harbors no breathable air or oxygen, no liquid water and no sources of food, nor conditions favorable for producing any. For these and other reasons it would be accurate to call Mars a veritable hell for living things, were it not for the fact that the planet’s average surface temperature is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit. ...
The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke.
- Let's Not Move to Mars, Ed Regis, NYT, Sept. 21, 2015


The spacecraft is largely a clone of Chang’e-3, which landed on the moon in 2013. Indeed, Chang’e-4 was built as the backup in case the first attempt failed. With the success — the first soft landing of any spacecraft on the moon since 1976....
- Kenneth Chang, China’s Chang’e-4 Launches on Mission to the Moon’s Far Side, NYT, Dec. 7, 2018


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