Living On Mars

In theory we could take everything with us that would enable us to live successfully on Mars. But that adds up to a huge amount of tonnage - not least in terms of the air we breathe and the food we eat. A much better way of approaching the problem of living on Mars is to take with us the equipment that allows us to use the planet's own resources. What we need  is In Situ Resource Utilisation (often abbreviated to ISRU).  (For those of you less familiar with the jargon, in situ is simply Latin for "in place".) So we use the resources that are already "in place" on Mars.

  • We can use the energy from solar radiation that reaches the surface of Mars to heat and light the base and power agriculture and small scale industry.
  • Water can be mined from the many glaciers on the planet or the permafrost
  • We can can use the energy and the water mixed with a nutrient solution to grow food and useful crops such as bamboo. 
  • We can take with us small and scaled down machines (e.g. lathes, furnaces and so on) to  manufacture what we need - e.g. farm tools.
  • We can use Mars materials to build new habitat space.
  • We can make breathable air from the atmosphere on Mars and water and we can make rocket fuel from the same.
The base will be located at or a near an excellent source of water ice.

The early colonists will prospect for good sources of iron ore, aluminium ore, silica, magnesium ore, calcium carbonate, basalt  and other materials. In addition to food crops, they will grow crops that produce useful materials such as hemp, bamboo and cotton.