NASA’s Curiosity rover takes selfie during the dust storm (Credit: NASA)
Hero astronaut Chris Hadfield says we have sent man to Mars in the 1960s – but there is a good reason why we don’t.
The former International space station commander said that the risk of death was simply too high.
“We could send humans to Mars decades ago,” Hadfield told Business Insider.
“The technology that took us to the moon and back when I was a child – that technology will take us to Mars.”
Hadfield was referring to the famous Apollo 11 mission, the spaceflight that landed the first two people on the moon.
Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on 20 July 1969 and Hadfield is convinced that the same spaceship technology could put us on Mars.
The problem, according to Hadfield, is that the classical space shuttles would simply take too long to get to Mars.
This brings a lot of risks, especially diseases that are caused by the difficult conditions in the space.
“The majority of the astronauts that we send on these missions and would not do it,” he explained.
“She was going to die.”
The astronaut added: “Mars is further away than most people think.”
Hadfield is not wrong: there is a huge distance between the Earth and Mars, the red planet are about 600 times further away than the moon.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the distance is constantly changing as the two planets rotate around the sun.
The closest that Earth and Mars can ever be is a distance of 33.9 million kilometers, or 9,800 times longer than the journey from London and New York.
A more useful distance is the average gap, which is even larger, at 140 million kilometers.
The launch of a shuttle to Mars so far has taken a huge length of time – anywhere from 128 333 days.
That is an incredible length of time on board of a cramped shuttle, particularly one so far from the Earth – where the opportunity to start rescue missions almost impossible.
Astronauts in long-term space face significant risks.
Is the threat of deep-space radiation, which can cause cancer as a result of prolonged exposure.
And a 2016 study published in the journal Nature found that the astronauts who for a long time in the space have a much greater risk of fatal heart disease.
Hadfield in comparison with the performance of put people on Mars to the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the famous circumnvagiated the world between 1519 and 1522.
“Magellan, when he launched in 1519, with five ships and 250 men to try and just go around the world in a time, and almost everyone died,” Hadfield explained.
“They came back with 15 or 18 people, and one of the ships.”
He said that the current space travel mechanisms of “burning chemical rockets” is the “equivalent of the use of a sailboat or a pedal boat to try and travel around the world.”
There are a lot of the space-faring companies that claim to offer Mars travel in the near future, but Hadfield is not confident that they use to put people in Mars is a good idea.
They include Nasa’s Space Launch System, SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket(the brains behind by tech billionaire Elon Musk) and Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket(funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos).
“I think that we will never go to Mars, with the engines that exist on one of these three missiles, unless we really have to,” he explained.
“I don’t think that is a practical way to get people to Mars because they are dangerous and it takes too long, and that it therefore presents us with a risk for a long time.”
“Someone has to invent something we haven’t thought of yet,” Hadfield said.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.