Science 2 min read

Scientists Identify the Safest Place to Live on Mars

Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock.com

Dotted Yeti / Shutterstock.com

The surface of Mars is a radiation hot zone. But, scientists from the Washington Academy of Sciences have identified the safest place on the Red Planet.

The idea of a Mars colony has been around for a while. Unfortunately, scientists have to overcome several hurdles to achieve this dream.

For one, Mars is colder than Earth. Then, there’s the issue of lighter gravity and thinner atmosphere. However, the constant bombardment of deadly radiation may be the biggest problem Mars settlers have to face.

On Earth, a powerful magnetic shield — magnetosphere — protects us from the radiation of space. Without this shield, a constant stream of cosmic radiation would damage our cells and DNA.

Unfortunately, Mars lacks any strong magnetic field like Earth’s. As a result, the red planet can’t deflect these harmful electromagnetic rays from space.

Now, a team of scientists from the Washington Academy of Sciences has come up with a way to avoid the cosmic rays. It involves building settlements inside underground caverns called Lava Tubes.

The researchers even identified the perfect spot — Hellas Planitia.

Building a new Neighborhood in Hellas Planitia

According to Live Science, the deep impact basin called Hellas Planitia is perfect for the first Mars settlers. And that’s because its radiation levels are lower than other places on the Red Planet.

First, the research team identified the three structures that appeared to be lava tubes in this region using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Then, they tested out their radiation-shielding hypothesis using lava tubes in the United States.

According to their published paper, the tubes blocked out as much as 82 percent of the solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

The researchers from the Washington Academy of Sciences aren’t the first to suggest inhabiting lava tubes outside of Earth. Back in 2017, Japan’s space agency has a similar suggestion for moon settlement.

But as popular as the idea might be, Live Science points out that it’s still not a perfect solution.

The low radiation levels in Hellas Planitia and the underground shielding tunnels are a start. However, explorers would still face dangerous levels of cosmic radiation.

Ultimately, we still need more support to colonize the Red Planet.

Read More: Mars Mission Will Rely On Laser Communication, Says NASA

 

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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