Why Mars?

Why Mars?


Vsauce I’m Jake and… Hey Jake. National Geographic called and they were wondering
if you, me and Kevin could each make a video about Mars. But Michael…Why Mars? Throughout our lives there has been a fascination,
an expectation, to physically go to Mars. And it isn’t specific to one culture
or one era, it permeates through us. This idea of visiting the Red Planet, given
that name because of the iron oxide on its surface. It has been a part of culture for a very long time. In literature all the way back to the 1600s,
in film in 1910 with the Thomas Edison produced A Trip to Mars – one of the first Science
Fiction movies ever made, and more recently in video games like Doom, Red Faction and
Destiny, and of course on television in the series Mars on National Geographic. In reality, we’ve been coming up with plans
to go to that bright spot in the sky, that at it’s closest is 33.9 million miles away,
and at it’s farthest 249 million miles away, for over 65 years. The first being The Mars Project written by
physicist and engineer Wernher Von Braun in 1948. It detailed and outlined how to get a manned
mission to Mars. His hope was that it could be done by 1965,
4 years before the moon landing. Since the publication of The Mars Project
there have been over 60 other plans by government organizations and scientists to get human
beings on the surface of the planet. During all those years we have sent landers
and rovers to Mars, first the Soviet Union sent Mars 2 and 3. Neither were successful, with Mars 2 holding
the title of being the first man made object on the surface of Mars and simultaneously
the first manmade object to crash into the surface of Mars. Then there was the Viking 1 lander in 1976
which was not only the first spacecraft to actually land on Mars and complete it’s
mission but also gave us this: the first photograph ever from the surface of Mars. Skip ahead 21 years to Sojourner, the first
successful rover mission. Then there was Spirit and Opportunity. And quick side note on Spirit, it’s mission
was for 90 Martian Solar Days, about 90 Earth days, functioned for over 6 years thanks to
cleaning events: winds blowing the martian dust off of the rover’s solar panels. And then Spirit got stuck, but we’ll get
to that in a minute. The most recent rover is Curiosity, which
instead of being solar powered like Spirit and Opportunity, is powered by a nuclear generator
and has more twitter followers than most humans. Now back to Opportunity. Its been in operation for almost 13 years,
about 50 times longer than originally designed, but during that time, the rover has only travelled
a distance of 26 miles. It’s been said that what a rover could do
in 6 months, a human could do in 2 hours. What took Opportunity 13 years to accomplish
in distance, a human could do in a day. And that’s not to discredit what the rovers
have been able to accomplish. They’ve discovered some key ingredients
to life on the planet, like oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon and sulfur. And they’ve measured the radiation on Mars
so when we do send humans, we have a better understanding of the environment we will be
entering. But the rovers have just scratched the surface…literally. Spirit got stuck in some soft soil during
its mission. In order to get it free, engineers from NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory took an identical rover and put it in as close to the same situation
as they could, going so far as to recreate the effects of reduced gravity. All this in an attempt to try and solve how
to get Spirit unstuck. They weren’t able to figure out a way but
this highlights an advantage of human vs machine. A human would be able to get itself out of
that situation. Not to mention a human wouldn’t have to
wait 26 minutes to get its next command. Well, it would range between 8 minutes and
48 minutes depending on Mars’s distance from Earth. It takes anywhere from 4 minutes to 24 minutes
to send a message to Earth and the same amount of time back. And that’s the thing, the Rovers move by
command, they extend their arm by command, every action is dictated by a person on Earth. So not only is there the time delay between
sending and receiving, but also the time to decide the best course of action. You don’t have to give a human a command
to walk forward 100cm. Humans can be much better robots than a robot. But Jake, you still haven’t answered the
question of Why Mars? Good point, so let’s break it down, starting
with why not another planet…why not Venus? Venus is closer than Mars at 26 million miles
from Earth at its closest point and 160 million at its furthest. It is also 80% the mass of Earth and has 90%
the gravity vs Mars which is 10 times smaller and has 38% the gravity. Venus is often considered to be Earth’s
twin. But it also has a surface temperature of 864
degrees F, hot enough to melt lead, and the surface pressure is 92 bar. To put that into perspective, on Earth the
average is 1 bar. 92 would be about the same pressure as going
1000ft deep into the Ocean. It would be crushing. Every lander or probe sent to the surface
had a fairly short life, with the longest one lasting only 2 hours before being destroyed
by the environment. Now, if you go 31 miles above the surface
it isn’t as bad with similar pressure, gravity and radiation protection which is why NASA
has HAVOC, the High Altitude Venus Operational Concept, a kind of floating city science lab. But the general consensus is that the other
planets are unhabitable do to temperature, distance, or a lack of a surface to stand
on. So, in terms of planets in our solar system,
Mars becomes the obvious destination. Ok, we send humans to Mars to conduct experiments
much more rapidly and much more impactfully than a rover could. A human could drill into the polar ice caps
and find out what the atmosphere was like back when Mars did have liquid water on its
surface. We could find out if there was still liquid
water under the surface and in doing so, discover life even on the smallest level. Then this brings up the obvious next question,
how do we live there? Since Mars has much less gravity than Earth
your bones would atrophy and muscles would decay away at a significant rate. So we terraform the planet. Cool terraforming fact, it was generally called
Planetary Engineering up until 1982 when the term terraforming was popularized. There are a few different proposed methods
for terraforming Mars, some involve giant orbital mirrors to warm the surface of the
planet, other ideas include melting the ice caps, directing small asteroids to impact
Mars, basically we would create global warming on Mars. And it would take a long time. In Senior NASA scientist Christopher McKay’s
paper Planetary Ecosynthesis on Mars, he suggests that producing an oxygen rich atmosphere would
take more than 100,000 years. Using current technology. Other researchers have suggested only 500
to 1,000 years. Not to mention that terraforming a planet
would most likely kill anything currently alive on it. But as astrophysicist Matt O’Dowd told me,
“Who needs to build a sky if you can build roof.” Vast extended covered habitats and recently
NASA selected six companies to create prototypes. Or maybe the first explorers of Mars could
live underground. Let me try and answer the question that i
first asked, Why Mars? I think it is a bit of a trick question because,
yes, it is about furthering our understanding of Life in our solar system. Is there, has there been other life besides
our own? The significance that that would have and
the other mysteries we would uncover would be revolutionary, would be world changing. But when asking ourselves why go to Mars,
I think about what Benjamin Franklin said on one of the first manned flights, a hot
air balloon ride, when he was asked why? He said, “What use is a newborn baby?” It is a beginning, it is the first step that
turns into something greater. To go to Mars, it takes all of us. From all different countries, from all different
backgrounds. It is called the International Space Station,
not the American Space Station, or the Japanese Space Station. When we come together for a common goal, we
can achieve anything, we really can. Even if it is planting the seed of human life
on Mars, no matter how seemingly small, it will grow into something that we could have
never imagined. And those branches will extend into the rest
of our solar system and into our galaxy and so on and so forth. Going to the Moon pumped blood and new enthusiasm
for science and engineering and our own world. Think about what stepping foot on another
planet would do. As the famous polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
said, “Optimism is true moral courage. Difficulties are just things to overcome.” And, as always, thanks for watching.

Comments

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    Alex Dobre

    For Terraforming the planet Mars we can bring Ice from Europa satellite, we can bring a loot and boom you have it. Just a regular trip to the market to buy some ice 😉

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    MADDS420 Pokagon Potawatomi

    If I were you I'll be glad I wasn't part of the Discovery Channel you know where that guy said we have to make spacecraft durable enough to get past the Van Allen radiation belt and then aired on YouTube and then after everybody pointed out they said the Van Allen radiation belt wasn't we went over it not through it well we haven't seen that guy and any other YouTube channel and there has been people that has asked where did he go I can tell you right now in the Nevada desert still have the shovel in the shed

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    Jacques Lheureux

    Mars is a desert.
    Nobody lives in the deserts on earth. Thats why its call a desert. Nothing to live off.
    None of the Mars enthusiast have ever lived in a desert.
    Try it. See if you like it before you buy it (taking a couple of years…)

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    Timothy's Technology

    Um… as for terraforming Mars, why not Fusion? If we are basically just heating up the planet why not create a star on the planet using Fusion?…

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    Alexander Kale

    Every video game ever: start with caves, or mud huts or domes or single robots. Claw your way up through countless hardships, resource shortages and political curveballs. Even discounting alien space monsters, terraforming is the last thing you do, and at that point, mostly just the cherry on top.
    Meanwhile, IRL, the Boys and Girls of Nasa want to do it as a first measure. The most titanic undertaking a species can take short of moving a planet outright. As a first measure.
    Sure. Can I get some of the stuff they are smoking, please?

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    Richard Weeden

    It surprises me that spirit had no contingency plan for getting stuck like that..
    I am not sure what that would be.. maybe tracked wheels ? but surely somebody thought
    that they might run into some land that wasn't perfect hard rock

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    John Amabile

    Diverting 2060 Chiron and a few other comets into the polls, especially if they were broken into small pieces could be done in decades, not millenia. Hydrogen bombs are strong enough to do this quickly. No safety risks since we would do this hundreds of miles from Earth. The only reason it hasn't been done already is that Mars is not privatized. America paid for 97% of the ISS. www.changingtheworlds.com

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    wdd3141

    8:33 "stepping foot on another planet…"???
    Boy, what grammar! You can step on another planet, you can set foot on another planet, but you can't "step foot" anywhere!

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    I THE PREACHER

    NASA
    Astronaut Don Pettit We Can't Go Back to The Moon, That Technology Was
    Destroyed

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BF8Vw6yt-8

    NASA
    engineer admits they can't get past the Van Allen Belts

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4IPtJwuR0M

    NASA ADMITS Man Made
    Barrier Structure Around Earth (GOD’S DOME CONFIRMED!?)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGDt-KcQwcE

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    Brodric Johnson

    Ha the government said humans are better robots than robots a long time ago, that's why there's so many brainwashed folks nowadays!

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    Battle Fire Skull studios

    Why don't we here about colonizing the planet Mercury, we can have cities floating on water in glass domes on the polls of mucury

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    Michael Hunsinger

    0:05 when your tired but you let your friend's play around a little longer while you try to hold yourself together.

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    Andrew Mynhier

    8:38 each of their voices have become synonymous and riminding of everything vsauce represents curiosity, Wonder, science, philosophy, history imagination, optimism, the Pursuit of knowledge, and bring out the true geek in all of us

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    richard klegin

    i dont think we should go to mars . when we cant even take care of this planet in which we live on now . and what will we do to our new home ? maybe thats why we are visted by aliens they are checking up on their creation

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    shaktimukiman

    😁venus might have been our last planet. when it got to close to the sun we could have changed to earth. and when earth gets to close to the sun mars will be closer too and have more atmosphere due to warming up. since all atempts to geo engineer mars have to do with warming the planet this seems logical to me…. just think about it

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    Wordsmith for a year.

    Mars is just another luminary up there.
    It’s great to see them close up.
    Everyone needs to look on YouTube for
    ‘Real planets and stars’
    It will blow your mind I promise!
    It’s video footage from the legendary Nikon P900 high powered zoom camera of the luminaries 😍

    Tesla said it was an electric universe and once you see these images you’ll definitely agree.
    Or just type in Mars P 900 and tell me you think fElony Musk could shoot his load to a luminary!
    Also ask yourself what our flat and stationery viewing platform we call Earth looks like from Mars P 900 ♥️

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    johnny pedersen

    Personally, I would love it if all the vsauce hosts came together to make a video that absolutely made no sense.

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