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22nd January 2020

Associate Professor, Adam Hawkey discusses the physical impact of sending humans to Mars.

Why can’t we put people on Mars? – Sarthak, aged 13, Delhi, India

While we haven’t yet put people on Mars, we may be able to in the future. As with any major human exploration, whether it’s climbing Mount Everest or travelling to the deepest point of the oceans, there will be a number of obstacles to overcome when we send people to Mars (and bring them back home again).

Firstly, building a spacecraft that can take a crew to Mars safely will be a challenge. Astronauts staying on the International Space Station (ISS) can receive supplies of food, water and other provisions because it is close to the Earth. But a journey to Mars will last six to nine months, depending on the relative positions of the planets to each other. The spacecraft will need to be self-sufficient, which means it will have to carry all the necessary supplies required for the trip or be able to produce them on board.

Read Adam Hawkey's article in full on The Conversation