When will humans be living on Mars?

08 January 2019

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Question

When will we see the first human on Mars?

Answer

Chris Smith put Hannah's question to Space Boffin Richard Hollingham, asking if we really would want to go to Mars in the first place...

Richard - This is my basic thesis space is horrible. Don't go there. Yeah it's really it's interesting. So a few years ago if you went and did an interview at NASA they would talk about journeys on the way to Mars. All this was on the way to Mars, space station was a stepping stone to Mars. You won't hear that anymore. They now talk about going back to the moon. So that is the new destination. As we're celebrating you know this next year in 2018 2019 50 years since the first man on the moon to walk on the surface of the moon. Now talk about return to the moon rather than Mars. And that's hard enough got to go back and recreate these technologies but I'm pretty certain that's going to happen. Pretty sure we will see people whether they are NASA or Russians or Chinese perhaps on the moon within the next decade. I'd confidently say that I was so confident. You're right. I only got to invite me back in 10 years on the naked scientists and I will either be proved right or wrong. Mars is, really, I don't think I can say quite safely, I'll say 2040 right now there'll be people on Mars at the moment we can't even get a coffee cup size sample of Martian soil back from Mars to Earth. That is the problem. We can land on Mars. We can't always land on Mars successfully as the Europeans failed to land on Mars with their Lander last year. So you know it's not always easy to land on Mars. It's really difficult. We don't know quite how to get off Mars again. So maybe a one way trip. I don't think that's realistic.

Chris -  So yeah why do we even want to go.

Richard - I don't know. You know could the pictures from Mars it's really horrible. There might once have been flowing water, now, I think, that it's pretty certain there was water flowing on the surface of Mars once. You know the idea that you can turn it into some new earth. I mean that this goes solely the realms of science fiction from what I understand it for most of the time if you were standing at night on the surface of Mars because of this hazy dusty atmosphere you wouldn't even see the stars. So you know it's a grim cold horrible place to be. Why would you want to go.

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