What life on Mars might really be like

Mission to Mars: Six astronauts spent eight months living as Martians in a remote part of Hawaii.

Six astronauts have landed back in the real world following a challenging eight-month training exercise in Hawaii. Mars is 34 million miles from Earth. Would you want to live there?

What’s happening

Far from a Hawaiian holiday this trip was a test of endurance. These astronauts were preparing for the adventure humans hope to go on in the future: a trip to Mars.

Of the long list of home comforts they were forced to go without, it was the Internet they missed the most. Would you move to Mars?

Find out more

In the future, people could live on Mars. Before that happens, scientists need to do tests to make the trip as safe as possible. This recent experiment was the third Mars simulation, paid for by NASA.

Martian conditions are tough. No fresh food, no ice cream, no walking outside without a spacesuit on and, to make it feel even less like home, the astronauts had to go without seeing their friends and family.

A 20-minute delay was added onto all their communications. This is the amount of time it takes for radio signals to reach Earth from Mars. They could not speak in real-time to anyone on Earth and spent eight months communicating using pre-recorded messages and emails.

Should we all go on more adventures and swap normality for the unknown?

Some say…

“No!” say some. Why would you go to such extremes just to get stuck on a red rock? You do not need to be an explorer to lead an exciting life. The famous philosopher Immanuel Kant famously spent most his life living in the same part of Germany. Learn to appreciate what we already have, there is magic in the mundane. We gain nothing from difficult voyages.

Others think…

“Not true!” respond others. Adventure is something humans are built for. Athletes and pioneers understand. It is about achieving the unachievable at any cost. What is the point in living if it is not to go to the extreme? If we can find a way to send humans to Mars, that would be a huge achievement. The world is full of wonder, go and explore!

You Decide

  1. If your safety was guaranteed, would you want to live on Mars?

Activities

  1. Could you go eight months without your favourite things? What would you miss the most if you moved to Mars? Write a list of pros and cons for moving to the red planet and share with a friend. Hold a class vote; would you move to Mars?

Some People Say...

“Nothing amazing happens without being outside your comfort-zone.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Endurance
The ability to continue doing something unpleasant or difficult without giving up.
Simulation
Imitation or making a computer model of something. Creating the same environment or situation in a different space. The Hawaiian volcano had a similar rocky environment as NASA has found on Mars.
Martian
A living creature that calls Mars home.
Immanuel Kant
A German philosopher who died in 1804.
Mundane
Lacking interest or excitement. Normal and dull. It comes from the Latin word for “world” so it can mean worldly, not spiritual or not from outer space.
Pioneers
The first to explore or discover a new country or area.

Subjects

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