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What will the crew of SpaceX Mars Mission learn

“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”

                                                                                               – Elon Musk

SpaceX is one of the most prominent companies in space exploration. They are constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of what is possible. One of their latest goals is to send humans to Mars.

This is an ambitious goal, but SpaceX has shown that they are more than capable of achieving it. They have already sent several missions to Mars, constantly gathering data and improving their technology.

The exploration of Mars is an important step for SpaceX and humanity. It is a crucial first step in our journey to the stars. In a few years, the first crewed SpaceX Mars mission will launch from Earth. This historic event will begin a new era in space exploration as humans venture farther from home than ever to colonize the red planet.

“The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but

Mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever”

                                                                                                -Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

“It’s been almost half a century since humans last lived on the moon. That’s too long; we need to get back there and have a permanent base on the moon — again, like a big permanently occupied base on the moon. And then build a city on Mars to become a spacefaring civilization, a multi-planet species,” Musk said (Sheetz, 2021) [1].

But what will the crew of this groundbreaking mission be doing during their 9-month journey through the vast emptiness of space? Here’s a look at some of the things they’ll be learning about.

The Space Trip

SpaceX’s vehicle for getting to Mars is named ‘Starship.’ It’s a fully reusable rocket that is still undergoing development in Texas. The Starship will use liquid oxygen and methane as fuel sources instead of the traditional rocket propellant. The idea behind this change is that the Starship will fly to Mars, refuel using the resources found on the planet and fly back to earth.

In November 2018, Neil deGrasse Tyson declared that “a whole category of war has the potential of evaporating entirely” with planet-hopping technology. That’s because humans would have the ability to venture out further and mine resources from even further away. “In space, you do not need to fight a war, just go to another asteroid and get your resources,” deGrasse said (Brown, 2022) [2].

The first part of the trip will be spent learning about the science of space travel. The crew will need to know how to preserve water and air supplies, as well as how to manage waste. They’ll also need to understand the effects of microgravity on the human body and how to counteract them. In addition, they’ll receive training on how to operate the spacecraft and its life support systems.

SpaceX’s Mars Mission will be an incredible journey for the six-person crew. For nine months, they will be on their own in space, learning about everything from maintaining the spacecraft to living and working together in close quarters. Here are some of the things they will learn during their trip:

  1. The crew will have to learn how to live and work together in a very small space. They will need to learn how to cook, clean, and exercise in a limited space. As with shared living on earth, shared living on a spacecraft will be the same: clean up after yourself, keep everything in its place, and have a cooking schedule.
  2. The crew will be responsible for keeping the spacecraft in good working order. They will need to learn how to troubleshoot and repair any problems. Maintenance of the craft is extremely important since it’s the only thing keeping the Astronauts from certain death. Keeping it in the best shape possible is the key to the survival of the mission and the Astronauts’ survival.
  3. The crew will be conducting a variety of scientific experiments during their trip. They will need to learn how to set up and operate the equipment, as well as how to collect and analyze data. The equipment will have been modified for use in space. Hence it might work a little differently than normal.
  4. The crew will need to take care of their health during the trip. They will need to learn about nutrition and exercise in space and how to prevent and treat illnesses. The lack of gravity can harm muscles and the general health of astronauts.
  5. The crew will be able to stay in touch with their families and friends back on Earth. They will also be able to communicate with the ground team of scientists and engineers supporting their mission. There will be a large delay between sending and receiving data which is not ideal for face-to-face conversations, hence recorded messages are the most efficient and fastest way.

Once they arrive at Mars, the crew will study the planet’s geology for several months. They’ll learn about its unique features, including Valles Marineris—the largest canyon in the solar system—and Olympus Mons—the tallest mountain in our solar system. They’ll also have a chance to study Mars’ many impact craters, which provide clues about the planet’s violent history.

Private spaceflight companies such as SpaceX are also getting into the Mars game. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly said that humanity must become “a multi-planetary species” if we are to survive, and he is working on a plan that could see a million people living on mars before the end of this century (Drake) [3].

Of course, one of the mission’s main goals is to determine whether or not Mars is habitable for human beings. The crew will therefore spend considerable time conducting experiments on Mars’ atmosphere, soil, and water supplies. They’ll also set up long-term habitation facilities that future missions can use as base camps.

The future of Mars, as portrayed by SpaceX’s owner and CEO, Elon Musk, is a thriving and self-sustaining colony that can run itself with minimal governance. This colony/city will be open to everyone, not just scientists and researchers.

“Curiosity is the essence of our existence”

            -Gene Cernan

The crew of SpaceX’s Mars Mission will have a unique and challenging experience. They will learn much about themselves and their space during their nine-month journey.

The Challenges

SpaceX has been working hard to develop the technology needed to make human travel to Mars possible, and they are now on the verge of testing their first crewed spacecraft. While this is an exciting step forward, many challenges still need to be overcome before SpaceX can begin regular trips to Mars.

Mars eats spacecraft. More than half of all Mars missions have failed, earning the planet the nickname “Mount Everest of the solar system.” Only four space agencies have successfully sent orbiters to Mars: NASA, the European Space Agency, Russia’s space agency, and most recently, India’s (Grossman, 2016) [4].

SpaceX is set to launch its most ambitious mission yet: sending humans to space. But the greatest challenges will need to be faced before humans even leave the earth.

  • SpaceX will need a human-rating certification from the US government to launch people into space. This is no small feat and will require significant testing and documentation.
  • SpaceX must ensure that its spacecraft are safe and reliable for human spaceflight. This will require substantial testing and refinement of the designs.
  • SpaceX will need to raise significant amounts of money to fund the development of its human spaceflight program. This could be a challenge, given the current state of the economy.

Then come to the challenges put forth by space travel and mars itself:

  • One of the biggest challenges facing SpaceX is the radiation environment of Mars. The planet’s atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s, offering little protection from harmful cosmic rays and solar radiation. This could potentially lead to health problems for astronauts spending extended periods on Mars.
  • Another challenge facing SpaceX is the lack of water on Mars. The planet is dry and dusty, and it would be difficult to find enough water to sustain a human settlement. This is why one of SpaceX’s goals is to develop technology that can extract water from the Martian atmosphere.
  • Finally, SpaceX will need to overcome another challenge: the psychological effects of living in such an isolated environment. Astronauts on long-term missions to Mars will need to be able to deal with the isolation and lack of human contact. This will require them to be highly trained and mentally prepared for the challenges they will face.

 

“All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct”

                                                                                                -Carl Sagan

A psychological profile is part of the astronaut selection process; people who can get along with one another are chosen. A lot of my close friends, family, and people I know or have worked with—they wouldn’t do well. But NASA and our international partners pick people who can deal with being in close quarters with others. You have your own private space at the station if you need to get away. I’m sure people vent to the folks on the ground. And we talk to a psychiatrist or a psychologist every couple of weeks. Occasionally someone will do something to get on your nerves, but then you realize you’re probably doing stuff to get on their nerves, too. So, you just move on. I’ve seen two cosmonauts who didn’t talk to each other for months. That’s not ideal (Olejarz, 2017) [5].

Despite these challenges, SpaceX is moving forward with its plans to send humans to space. It could revolutionize how we travel to and from space if successful.

 

Conclusion

The SpaceX Mars mission will be a historical event, not only because it will be the first manned mission to Mars but also because it will be an important step in humanity’s quest to colonize other worlds. The crew of this groundbreaking mission will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to learn about space travel, geology, and habitability during their 9-month journey. Who knows what discoveries they may make that could change our understanding of our place in the universe?

If ever realized, SpaceX’s mars City would genuinely be a technological triumph and could be a critical step in futureproofing our species for thousands, perhaps millions of years. The journey there will not be easy, but people like Musk believe it is a mission worth pursuing (McFadden, 2022) [6].

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically,

To the Earth, chemically,

To the Universe, atomically.”

                                                                                                -Neil Degrasse Tyson

 

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Based on that exposure, our company has intentionally set out to support those practicing the art and science of leadership – or as often referred to, “Executive Talent.” These are people who acknowledge that they are not experts. They are open to opportunities for continued growth and carry the desire for learning what is needed to become a success in today’s complexity and uncertainty.

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References

[1]: Michael Sheetz, 23rd April 2021, Elon Musk Wants SpaceX To Reach Mars So Humanity Is Not A ‘Single Planet Species

[2]: Mike Brown, 11th April 2022, SpaceX Mars City: Why, When, And How Elon Musk Wants To Build His Ambitious Plan

[3]: Nadia Drake, Why We Explore Mars – And What Decades Of Missions Have Revealed

[4]: Lisa Grossman, 4th May 2016, SpaceX mars Mission Is A Chance To Hunt For Life On The Planet

[5]: JM Olejarz, November-December 2017, Life’s Work: An Interview With Scott Kelly

[6]: Christopher McFadden, 25th May 2022, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Plans To Settle Mars Before The Century Is Out

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