Crucial issues

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Most requirements for an autonomous colony on Mars can be fulfilled today, thanks to the experiences with manned orbital stations (ISS) and recent robot missions to the Red Planet. Also, there is advanced mining and recycling technology available. So, there are problems and solutions. But there are some crucial issues listed on this page that might not find a solution at all, at least not today. Each of these issues can be a fundamental blocking point in the plan to make a colony independent from regular replenishments.

Issue 1: Energy

Energy is required to produce return fuel, food production, lighting and local goods production. The simplest available energy source seems to be solar power., Nuclear could be brought from Earth, if necessary. The net energy gain under Martian environmental conditions for solar panels is well known and has been tested extensively by the Mars rovers. See Cost of energy on Mars for more information.

Issue 2: Money

The financial effort estimation reveals the enormous costs for the transport to the Red Planet. Establishing a whole colony requires many shipments. Both private fund raising and government programs are based upon a broad public interest. Enough people must be convinced to support the enterprise. To overcome this problem the Mars One project tried to raise the money from selling of TV rights, but went broke in 2019 .

Issue 3: Health

A number of health problems due to low gravity might compromise the viability of a martian settlement. One expensive solution to low gravity is to use a centrifuge.

See also

Problems and solutions