So far on TWT, George and Tamara have spent a lot of time researching ideas for The Park of the Future, and now it’s time to planet. In this episode, George and Tamara journey to NASA to learn about the history of space travel, Mars colonization projects like space veggies, and scholarships funding upcoming innovators. At the end of their visit, they walk away with some ideas for possible Park of the Future exhibits (and maybe even ideas for the salad bar). Aside from space veggies, however, there are several planned missions over the next decade that are taking us leaps closer to understanding and colonizing the red planet. Let’s check out some space travel that’s on the horizon.
The European Space Agency and Roscosmos have combined forces to launch a probe. The goal of the mission is to discover proof of life on Mars during its early history when the planet had warmer and wetter conditions. It has long been speculated that this was a possibility considering specific formations like Oxia Planum which appears as though it could have once been a large lake. They also plan to study clay-bearing rocks that date back four billion years and may hold biomarkers for ancient life.
NASA 2020 Rover
One major project that NASA is currently working on concerning the red planet is a rover mission. They’re currently planning the details of this mission, including the eventual landing site which may be the now-dry river delta, where there will be a good assemblage of minerals for sampling. Another possible goal for the rover is a mission to transport planetary samples back to Earth for the first time in history. As we saw in this episode of TWT, it would be incredibly helpful to have actual samples of things like martian soil. Compared to a spacecraft’s onboard equipment, lab instruments here on Earth can test the samples with much higher precision. Therefore, even the possibility of growing plants on Martian soil can be performed under more accurate calculations.
Space X Mars Colony
In an interview with Inverse, Astrobiologist Lewis Dartnell said on the possibility of colonizing Mars, “(W)hile the first human mission to land on Mars will likely take place within the next two decades, it will probably be more like 50-100 years before substantial numbers of people have moved to Mars to live in self-sustaining towns.” Well, Ceo of SpaceX Elon Musk is on a mission to move that timeline up-and we mean way up. In fact, in their thoroughly outlined plans, they’ve said they’d like to have some sort of settlement started by 2030! They’re launching a series of projects over the next decade, including a series of testing ships within our own atmosphere, unmanned ship launches in 2022, and a possible first manned ship landing in 2024.