The age of space exploration is upon us. Finally!
Since Star Wars, and Star Trek before it, people have been waiting. Some of us even remember the Apollo Space Programme.
Humanity was supposed to follow up going to the moon at the end of the 1960’s with building huge habitats for people in orbit, with sending astronauts to Mars and the rest of the solar system, and maybe even travelling to the stars.
We’ve all been waiting a long time. But humanities next great adventure, sending the first adventurers to Mars, is closer to happening now than it’s ever been. Serious efforts are now being made to take us to Mars, and if they succeed the first explorers will set off for the red planet in the next decade or so.
NASA has been talking about going to Mars for decades; it’s always been thirty years away. It still is. The Russian and Chinese governments talk about such a mission, but they still don’t have any concrete plans.
But we are in the age of the entrepreneur, and some of these have turned their eyes to the heavens. Companies such as SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace are now developing the hardware and other capabilities to take tourists into space, to build space hotels, and to start the first colony on Mars.
What follows describes how we can get to Mars, how we will live there, and how we will build a new branch of human civilisation there.
How will we get to Mars?
There are three basic mission architectures for sending explorers to Mars