Guest Writer Feature: The New Earth by Aire Beatrix M. Desamero


The guest writer for today's entry is MindMover intern Aire Desamero, a BS Development Communication student from University of the Philippines Los Baños. 


           The Earth has the perfect conditions to support life, supplying us with air, water and food anywhere we live on its surface. The heavenly bodies in and around our solar system haven't been as lucky as Earth, but humans' curiosity leads us to find out if maybe we can change addresses in the Milky Way. Where in space can we possibly seek refuge?      

                     
                                                                      [Photo credit: user "everlite", Deviantart website]

            It's going to be a big hurdle to try to move to a different planet, both psychologically and physically. The difference in gravitational pull can present a big challenge to adapt to, aside from the difference in the living conditions, the rotation and revolution, atmosphere, terrain, and capability to sustain life. That's an entirely different hurdle from actually funding, starting up, and successfully launching a rocket to the heavenly body.

The Moon 

           The moon is the only heavenly body outside Earth that man has stepped foot on. If you've seen one of the shows at the Universe Gallery's Space Shell, then you might be familiar with the Lunar X-Prize. This is a $30 million competition that acts as an incentive for entrepreneurs to launch a privately funded robot to the moon in order to breakthrough affordable transportation to the moon and back. The Lunar X-prize acknowledges the abundance of heavy metals and resources on the moon that can help further developments in technology in both land and space - something that can ultimately jumpstart humans exploring and inhabiting space.

                                                                                     [Photo credit: HNGN website]

          On the moon launch's 46th anniversary, NASA ambitiously sets goals to step on the moon again by 2021 and inhabit it by around the 2030's to cut back on the costs of the space expeditions. 

          Water on the moon can be harvested for rocket fuel, which can also help sustain life on it.  However, extreme temperature fluctuations, weak atmosphere, and extremely uneven topography throughout the moon will make living in it unbearable. Living on the poles may be more bearable (but still uncomfortable compared to living on Earth) with more stable temperatures since it receives less sunlight. 

Mars

          Mars is actually the first planet to be explored outside of the Earth, with rovers and satellites successfully launched to survey the planet. Rovers are currently up and running to continue sending feedback to our space station, and we have a model of one at the Universe gallery in the museum.

          Our friendly neighbor planet is actually red due to the iron present in the soil. Since it has a weak atmosphere mainly composed of carbon dioxide and no magnetic field which deflects harmful radiation, it will be challenging to sustain life. However, since one Mars day (or called a Martian sol) is almost the same as the Earth's with 24.63 hours a day it will be easier for humans to adapt. 

                                                                     [Photo credit: Mark Schierbecker, Wikipedia.com]

          Launching a manned rocket to Mars will become costly and challenging, which is why building a base on the Moon can become a stepping stone to exploring and inhabiting Mars, cutting down on the costs of each mission. 

Europa, Jupiter's Satellite

           Europa may have the perfect ingredients to sustain life on it. It is the smallest one of the four satellites of planet Jupiter and it is thought to have an ocean under the smooth layer of icy crust. Jupiter's gravitational pull creates tides in its ocean (probably saltwater) which "stresses" the crust and forms cracks. Europa is perfect to sustain life with its rocky interior, similar to that of the Earth's. It also has a thin oxygen atmosphere, but not enough to sustain human life.

                                                                                             [Photo credit: NASA.gov]

           Although it may be challenging to sustain human life on Europa, simple life forms on the satellite aren't as far-fetched. NASA has a mission concept called Europa Multiple Flyby Mission, targeted to survey if there are aliens in our own backyard (that is, the solar system).

"To Infinity and Beyond!"


                                                                    [Photo credit: Hubble Space Telescope website]

          The Hubble Space Telescope observed a small patch in the sky for 11 days and found almost 10,000 galaxies of different sizes, shapes and colors. There are so many possibilities as to how far we can go and discover the rest of the Universe. Imagine the possibilities! Maybe someday, you can be the one to discover where we can change humanity's address to.



REFERENCES:

1.  Castro, J. (2015). "What Would It Be Like to Live on the Moon." Retrieved July 22, 2015 from: http://www.space.com/28494-how-to-live-on-the-moon.html

2.      NASA. (n.d.) "Solar System Exploration." Retrieved July 22, 2015 from: http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/

3.      Seidel, J. (2015). "NASA wants robots to mine the moon to send humans to Mars." Retrieved on July 22, 2015 from: http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/nasa-wants-robots-to-mine-the-moon-for-fuel-to-send-humans-to-mars/story-fnjwelcze-1227452302490

4.      Tate, K. (2015). "How Living on Mars Could Challenge Colonists." Retrieved July 22, 2015 from: http://www.space.com/27202-living-on-mars-conditions-infographic.html

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