National Aeronautics and Space Administration Wiki


NASA is advancing the Journey to Mars by starting the conversation about where humans will one day land. The agency hosted a conference in October 2015 to collect proposals on areas on the Red Planet that would be of high scientific research value while also providing natural resources to enable human explorers to safely land, live and work on Mars.[1]

In anticipation of someday sending humans to Mars, NASA has begun searching for suitable locations for humans to land. The agency is looking for locations of high scientific value that would also provide resources to allow human explorers to land, live, and work on Mars. Locally derived natural resources such as water and oxygen are crucial for humans to explore Mars.[2]

Liquid water could be potentially be extracted from ground ice (at or buried beneath the surface), the atmosphere or hydrated minerals. Oxygen can be generated from the carbon dioxide that makes up most of Mars' atmosphere. The Mars 2020 rover mission will include an instrument (MOXIE) to demonstrate the technology for oxygen generation.[2]

Think tank[]

Manderson: “In this Alternative 3 operation... it would surely be logical to select only those we wanted to take with us. Would we want to take rats and mosquitoes, for instance? Of course not! We’d be given the opportunity to create the ideal environment for ourselves and, for the very first time, we’d be able to choose which creatures should share that environment. It would be a most marvellous opportunity. But think of the species we could happily do without. Starlings ... rooks ... pea-moths ... eelworms which do such damage to crops like potatoes and sugar-beet ... what possible use are any of them to us? Do you realize that three million species of insects have already been taxonomically classified and that, because of the present rate of insect evolution, the total classification will never be completed! And consider the damage they do! In India alone insects consume more food every year that nine million human beings - and that’s in a country where there’s widespread starvation. No ... leave them here and let them perish. Man doesn’t need them ...”

White: “But surely some of the most humble creatures are useful to man. Earthworms, for instance, aerate the soil and ...”

Manderson:“Earthworms, like every other species, would have to be properly assessed for usefulness. Gophers, for example, might prove to be more efficient. In the Canadian plains they perform exactly the same function as earthworms. Vast tracts there have no worms and it’s the gopher which turns vegetable mould into rich loam ... no, as I said, each case would have to be scientifically assessed.”

White: “But what about the sort of creatures we now keep in zoos? Creatures like lions and giraffes and elephants?”

Manderson: “Well, what about them? It wouldn’t be good economics to shuttle them off to another planet - even if sufficient transport were available. They’d have to die and, quite frankly, it wouldn’t make one iota of difference. I beg you, Miss White, not to get bogged down in sentimentality. It’s fashionable but it really is quite pointless. The dinosaurs lasted on this earth for a hundred million years - fifty times as long as man has been around— but the world goes on very well without them. And it’s been the same with so many other creatures. How many people, would you say, have ever been in mourning for the dinomys?”

White: “Dinomys? I’m sorry...I don’t quite follow...”
Manderson: “Precisely! You’re an educated young lady but you’ve never even heard of them, have you? Dinomys ... rat-like creatures which grew as big as calves ... used to flourish in South America. Polar bears and ostriches ... they’ll be the same one day ... people will look blank, just as you did a moment ago, when their names are mentioned. I could give you example after example - just to show how narrow the conventional view-point really is...”

White: “But creatures like bears ... they seem so, well, so permanent...”

Manderson: “So did the onactornis.”

White: “Onactornis?”

Manderson: “Carnivorous bird...eight feet tall...couldn’t fly but terrorized smaller creatures for millions of years.” 

White: “But if on assumes that the basic premise is correct, that men are colonizing Mars, wouldn’t they have to start from scratch with stocking an entire new world? And wouldn’t that be a almost unsuperable task?”

Manderson: “Not when you understand the facts or life. You’ve heard, of course, about the experiments which have resulted in the creation of test-tube babies...”

White: “Yes, but...”
Manderson: “But do you realize that enough female eggs to produce the entire next generation of the human race could be packed into the shell of a single chicken’s egg?” 

White: “Goodness! I’ no idea.”

Manderson: “And the same convenient compactness, Miss White, applies to other creatures. A mother cod, for example, can lay up to six million eggs at a single spawning. Fortunately most of those eggs are destroyed before they develop into fish...or else there’d be no room for people to paddle off our beaches. If they all survived the seas of our world would be solid masses of cod by now - and they could all survive if nurtured in the right conditions. There was a ling caught, not so long ago, which was carrying more that 28 million eggs! So you can see right away how easy it would be to stock any seas there may be on Mars... That’s assuming there’s nothing already in those seas. Granted - and there may well be for all we know.”

White: “But what if tiny things in the Martian seas - or on the Martian land for that matter - were harmful to man or were a nuisance to man?”

Manderson: “Then we’d have to use our initiative to balance the ecology in our favor. It’s been done often enough before, y’know. Sparrows, for instance, were first imported into New York in the middle of the nineteenth century - simply to attack tree-worms...”

White: “But wouldn’t that automatically bring other problems? What about the creatures that live on the creatures you’d have to introduce to strike this ecological balance? Like hedgehogs?”

Manderson: “I beg your pardon?”

White: “Hedgehogs... they get withdrawal symptoms and become quite neurotic if they are deprived of their fleas...”

Manderson: “I don’t pretend to be an authority on neurotic hedgehogs and I do feel we’re starting to get in rather deep. Can I help you in any other way?”

White: “Just on last question. In this new world - as you see it, Professor Manderson - is there any room for creatures that people simply enjoy ... creatures like squirrels and nightingales?”

Manderson: “Not unless their productivity value were proved. No room at all.”

White: “You know something. I find that very, very sad.”