The plan to power Mars by flying kites

Highest height: The kite will create energy using the 70mph winds.

Would life be better in space? Scientists say wind power could help astronauts create electricity while living on Mars. But some people are not sure if it is worth moving there at all.

What’s happening

How do you create electricity in space? The European Space Agency has been running a contest to find out.

The winning team says wind power is the answer. But huge wind turbines are too heavy to take into space. Instead, they have suggested a simpler idea: kites.

Find out more

Human trips to Mars are getting even closer. NASA has a trip planned for the 2030s. China will send taikonauts soon after that.

Elon Musk says SpaceX could send people to the red planet as soon as 2026.

But they will need electricity when they arrive. Scientists from The Netherlands say that robots could fly a giant kite to provide power. This would help buildings and computers work on the planet.

The kite would have a surface area of 50 square metres. It would pull on a cable and turn a drum on the ground to create electricity.

The team also hopes to use solar cells. Together, they could give power to more than five astronauts in their daily work.

One day, hundreds of kites could power whole cities.

But would life be better in space?

Some say…

Of course not! Humans live on Earth for a reason. We have plenty of water. We can breathe fresh air. In most places, the temperatures are not too hot or too cold for our bodies. There is beautiful scenery and millions of animals. Plus, we can grow our food in the ground! Life will always be better here.

Others think…

Maybe! Mars may be different from Earth, but we could build homes and cities there if we wanted to. And Mars is just the start. There may be many planets in the universe even better than Earth! They might be bigger, or have better climates. The best thing about life in space is that it is full of possibility.

You Decide

  1. If you could live anywhere in the solar system, where would it be?

Activities

  1. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, experts build personalised planets for people. Design your own planet and give it a name. How many moons will it have? Will the days be longer or shorter? What will the climate be like?

Some People Say...

“The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.”

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857 – 1935), Russian and Soviet rocket scientist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Wind turbines
A huge windmill that makes power using the wind. The blades spin when it is windy and turn a generator which makes electricity.
Kites
Kites have been used for more than 3,000 years. In ancient China, people made them from bamboo and silk.
Taikonauts
The name for Chinese astronauts.
SpaceX
A private space company that makes vehicles for space. It was founded by Elon Musk.
The Netherlands
A country in northwestern Europe. Netherlands means low-lying country. More than one fourth of the country is below sea level.
Surface area
A measurement of all the surface that a shape takes up.
Solar cells
Cells that convey sunlight into electricity. Solar describes anything relating to the sun.
Possibility
The chance that something may or may not happen or exist. When something is full of possibility, it means all sorts of things could happen.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.