Excitement about Mars is heating up. Mars One is looking for would-be colonists; Earthlings willing to permanently move to the red planet in 2023: http://thestar.blogs.com/worlddaily/2013/04/bored-with-life-go-live-on-mars-really-.html. Meanwhile, Inspiration Mars Foundation has an even more imminent deadline: January, 2018. That’s when they hope to have two human perform a flyby of Mars - http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/04/16/first-manned-mars-mission-draws-flood-applicants/
My interest in spaceflight is well-documented in this blog. It’s an interesting time to have this passion. A hundred years from now, flights within our solar system may be relatively routine, while flights to another solar system may be far off. But in the next few decades, there’s a reasonable chance humanity will start inhabiting multiple planets.
I thought it might be fun to take a bit of time and provide links to sources detailing where and how we might live off Earth’s surface.
This writer makes a pitch for orbital colonies, foregoing the surface of other moons or planets for outer space: http://space.alglobus.net/Basics/where.html
Some have suggested asteroid mines, presumably inhabited, could serve as galactic gas stations: http://www.techthefuture.com/technology/asteroid-mining-as-stepping-stone-to-space-colonization/
Lagrange points might serve as good starting points for near-Earth development: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/mechanics/lagpt.html
A brief NASA primer on colonization (the info is decades-old but interesting): http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Basics/wwwwh.html
Discovery’s pros and cons of moon exploration: http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/pros-and-cons-of-colonizing-the-moon.htm
And the challenges of moonbase building: http://www.universetoday.com/12726/building-a-base-on-the-moon-challenges-and-hazards/
Living on Mars: http://www.physics.org/featuredetail.asp?id=69
This what a base there might be like: http://www.americaspace.com/?p=28482
A Popular Mechanics take on the same topic: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/4221805
Now this is kind of fun: computer-generated images of the interior of a Mars base. You can even (sort of) navigate through the structure: http://www.exploremarsnow.org
Finally, before we get too excited, it’s worth watching a documentary clip from the first encounter we had with the natives of Mars: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYGWG2_PB_Q
Clearly, any colonists we send should be accompanied by some jedi knights and a battlestar or two.