Human civilization started in Africa. But for thousands of years, humans gradually scattered around the world and built civilizations that turned into countries today. Now, humans are looking up the sky to the Moon and the planets in the solar system, particularly on Mars, and think of the possibility of putting up a human colony outside of Earth.

NASA and other space agencies around the world are planning to put up bases on the Moon and Mars to create a human colony to further human space exploration.

But creating a human settlement on the lunar surface and the Red Planet is not easy. It comes with challenges that they might face when living there.

As John F. Kennedy said in his famous Rice Moon speech: "We choose to go to the Moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard."

Moon and Mars Mission: Challenges That Humans Might Face When Living On the Lunar Surface and the Red Planet
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
A vision of a future Moon base that could be produced and maintained using 3D printing.

Living on the Moon vs. Mars

Science journalist Christopher Wanjek outlined some of the challenges that human settlement o the Moon and Mars might face by comparing what it would be like to live on the Moon versus on Mars, according to Spaceflight Insider.

According to Wanjek, Mars could potentially host human life because it has every element needed to support life, including the night/day cycle, axial tilt, and landscape similar to Earth, and 38% of Earth's gravity.

On the other hand, the Moon is less hospitable because of its zero gravity, fluctuating temperatures (extreme heat and extreme cold), and sharp regolith dust that could tear human lungs.

Wanjek said that the Moon could become like the Antarctica on Earth, where scientists could maintain a permanent infrastructure in the south pole to generate power via solar panels from the shallow angle of sunlight along the crater rims.

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If ice is present in the south pole, they could generate oxygen for drinking water, breathing, and rocket fuel. It would also be possible to grow plants.

But the low gravity on the Moon poses the greatest danger to future settlers because scientists do not know yet what zero gravity might do to the body. Instead of creating human settlements, scientists think that making the Moon another ISS would be better for research in astronomy, geology, biology, and also for tourism.

Mars is more suitable for human settlements, although getting there is also not an easy feat. Science Times previously reported that there are still hurdles that need to address before humans can go to the Red Planet.

Alternative Locations for Human Settlement In Space

Inverse listed five dangers before successfully sending humans on Mars. This includes the radiation exposure during the travel to the planet, isolation, and confinement during the nine-month-long journey that disrupts the circadian rhythm, long-distance from Earth, effects of microgravity on the health, and Mars' hostile environment.

Wanjek suggested a few alternatives to human settlement in space other than the Moon and Mars. This could be rotating habitats inside asteroids, planet Mercury which has similar gravity to Mars, Pluto, and Charon.

He also included to the list the moons of Saturn, namely, the very cold Titan, and Enceladus which has hydrothermal vents that can host life other than Earth.

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Check out more news and information on the Moon and Mars on Science Times.