Space Colonization is the inhabitation, by humans, of celestial bodies other than the Earth. In modern times, humans have been rapidly developing the technology required to colonize other planets, especially Mars.
In my opinion, humans should colonize other planets and moons because the benefits of space colonization outweigh its negatives.
The most important reason for space colonization is the continued existence of the human race in the face of a catastrophic event. Space colonization would allow humans to spread among many planets and moons. Therefore, humans would not be confined to the Earth. This expansion is important because if something catastrophic were to happen to the Earth (e.g., a meteor collision, rapid global warming, a polar shift, etc.), humans would still be alive on other celestial bodies. Even if most human-inhabited objects were destroyed, humans would still survive on other celestial bodies. To summarize, it would be very unlikely that humans would become completely extinct.
With the global population rising at dangerous rates, space colonization would help alleviate future overpopulation on Earth. Currently, the global population is approximately 7.8 billion. By 2050, the global population is projected to reach 11.5 billion. In other words, the global population could increase by 3.7 billion in just 30 years. At this rate, Earth will not be able to sustain such a large population. Space colonization would eventually allow a large portion of the human population to move to other planets, preventing overpopulation and its negative effects.
Another valuable benefit of space colonization is the abundance of natural resources available in space. The rapidly rising global population may exhaust Earth’s natural resources in the future. However, humans can still extract resources from another source--asteroids. The resources present in asteroids are abundant and untouched. By establishing colonies on nearby planets, humans can get access to these resource-rich asteroids, allowing them to support both their colonies and Earth itself. Abundant resources may also be found on the colonized planets. Since there is no day-night cycle in free space (outside of any planet’s atmosphere), humans could easily generate solar energy by using probes with large solar panels. The solar energy generated could help support space colonies, making them self-sustainable. Additionally, the vast amount of solar energy could help power Earth after fossil fuels run out; in fact, the solar energy could even help Earth move away from fossil fuels even before they run out.
One difficulty that will face humans while colonizing space is the lack of food and oxygen. Since Mars does not have oxygen in its atmosphere, it will be difficult for space colonizers to breathe and grow plants to eat. To solve this problem, scientists at NASA are developing a way to grow plants in space using greenhouses that would foster the correct living conditions. The oxygen and food produced by the plants would help space colonizers breathe and eat. The plants in the greenhouse would survive by absorbing the carbon dioxide released by the space colonizers.
The long journey from Earth to Mars poses another challenge: getting enough fuel. Mars is about 400 times further than the Moon from Earth. Therefore, travel between Earth and Mars would require massive amounts of fuel, so much that conventional fuel may not be sufficient. A nuclear reactor, similar to those used in nuclear submarines, could be used to power rockets for long periods of time. Additionally, the nuclear technology could be combined with SpaceX’s reusable rockets to create a rocket that can go back and forth between Earth and Mars.
The large amount of solar radiation in space will pose a threat to space colonizers. On Earth, the atmosphere prevents most harmful radiation from reaching the surface. However, the Martian atmosphere is very thin and can not block solar radiation. Therefore, Martian colonists would be exposed to too much harmful solar radiation. One way to prevent overexposure of solar radiation is to construct rockets, spacesuits, and homes out of hydrogen-rich plastics that are resistant to radiation. Another method of prevention is to develop a drug that would enhance space colonists’ ability to repair cellular damage caused by radiation.
Taking all this into consideration, the benefits of space colonization far outweigh its difficulties, and space colonization should be seriously pursued.
Image Source: Getty via Forbes