Is it possible for life to have ever existed on Mars or for man to colonize Mars? Scientists at NASA are leading us to believe that both are true. Are they true? Let's see.
To answer these questions, we will use science to analyze and compare three different planets. Earth, Earth's moon, and Mars.
Mars is regularly referred to as Earth's sister planet to imply that the two planets are close enough in size to have the same physical properties and, since Earth can support life, then so can Mars. But...Mars is actually closer to the size of the Moon (our moon is the fifth largest known moon in our universe.) We know that the moon cannot support life because it does not have enough gravity to maintain enough of an atmosphere to have life. If we were to pipe all of Earth's atmosphere to the Moon, it would all float out into space within a relatively brief period of time. Without an adequate atmosphere, we cannot have water in a liquid state. Atmospheric pressure is required to keep water in the liquid state. We have known for over half a century that liquid water in a vacuum instantly either vaporizes (boils) or freezes. Without adequate atmospheric pressure, water can only exist as either a gas or solid. Without liquid water, you cannot have life because of the very unusual properties of water which make life possible and are not found in any other fluids. Therefore, life cannot happen or evolve on the Moon.
Mars is only 17% the size of Earth which means that Earth is more than five times the size of Mars. This is a huge difference for planets that are supposed to be sister planets. Mars only has 38% of Earth's gravity which means that Earth has more than two and a half times more gravity than Mars. This is a crucial difference and the main factor which will tell us whether or not life can exist on Mars or if we can colonize Mars. The Moon only has 16.7% of Earth's gravity. Mar's gravity is only a little more than twice that of the Moon's gravity. As you can see, Mars is much more a sister of our Moon than Earth. It gets better.
The Moon does have a little atmosphere but so little that we say it has none. Mars has a similar problem to the Moon. With less gravity, it is easier for gas to float away from a planet and, therefore, the planet cannot maintain as much or as dense of an atmosphere. Mar's atmospheric pressure is between four and five millibars at the surface. 1,000 millibars equals one bar of atmospheric pressure which is Earth's atmospheric pressure. Mar's atmosphere is less than 5/1,000 that of Earth's atmospheric pressure. This is much closer to the Moon's atmospheric pressure.
The gravity on Mars is not adequate to maintain much of an atmosphere for very long. It cannot maintain enough atmosphere to have water in the liquid state. Liquid water released on Mars will either vaporize or freeze very quickly. The only way you can have liquid water on the surface of Mars for even a brief period of time is if volcanic activity were to quickly release enough steam into the atmosphere to force the water beyond the point of saturation for the atmosphere and forcing water to condense. Enough of this water vapor would quickly float away from Mars to return it to the state to where liquid water would quickly either vaporize or freeze. Mars cannot maintain water in the liquid state required for life for even a million years, much less for long enough for life to happen and evolve.
A problem caused by this very thin atmosphere is that there is not enough atmosphere on Mars to keep the heat created by sun light striking the surface from quickly radiating out into space. This problem is made even worse because Mars is enough further from the sun so that much less light hits its surface and there is less surface to heat up the atmosphere. Because of this, the temperature on Mars remains well below freezing (average temperature is -55 F) except during the summer at the equator during the day time when it can briefly reach up to 80 degrees F. This further decreases the possibility of ever having life on Mars. An atmosphere is crucial to having the conditions required for life which means that an adequate gravity is also required to have life happen and evolve on a planet. A planet has to be just the right size to be able to have life on it. Earth is the only planet in our universe which is the right size to have life on it.
Then why is NASA telling us that we are looking for life on Mars. I suggest two possible reasons. First, a number of the most influential scientists are evolutionists who are hoping to find evidence of life on Mars to keep their religion of evolution alive as I stated in the page on "What Is Science?" and they are so desperate they are willing to ignore what science tells them should be the case. Second, maybe they don't feel that Americans will spend the billions of dollars to explore Mars for scientific curiosity but will spend the money to search for possible life. In other words, it keeps the money coming in to pay their salaries. I believe that it is probably a little of both.
Now, can we ever colonize Mars? NASA has been trying to find a solution to a problem that we learned about in exercise physiology a long time ago. When you decrease the stress on the human skeleton, calcium leaches out of the skeleton making it more brittle. This leaching begins surprisingly fast and occurs in relation to the decrease in stress on the skeleton. In other words, less gravity causes our bones to quickly get weaker and become more susceptible to breaking.
This is very serious because it is a form of gravity induced osteoporosis and has the same potential hazards. With regular osteoporosis, a decrease in bone density of just 10% greatly increases bone breakage from falls or impacts. Now imagine living on Mars for a few years where the gravity is only 38% of Earth's gravity. Your bone density would quickly decrease to less than 50% of its regular density. You could not return to Earth to visit relatives because the force of the impact of just landing on Earth would crush your bones and possibly cause your death. And there are other problems caused by decreased gravity on the body such as weakening of muscles and connective tissue.
Now imagine living in zero gravity for the six months required to reach Mars, living on Mars for the minimum of one year that it will take before Earth and Mars are again close enough to travel between the two planets, and then living in zero gravity for the six months required to return to Earth. Until NASA can solve the problems caused by decreased gravity, we cannot even send a manned expedition to Mars. They could never return to Earth.
One possible solution for an expedition is to have a space vehicle which rotates to use centripetal force to create the force effects of gravity on the body. This vehicle would have to be used as a base of operations in orbit above Mars with the scientists commuting back and forth between the space vehicle and the surface of Mars. They could not stay on the surface of Mars for prolonged periods of time. This type of vehicle would be very expensive and, maybe, prohibitive.
Such a vehicle could not be used for the colonization of Mars unless they plan to live on the space station and only commute to the surface of Mars for brief periods of time. Simply put, it is not possible to colonize Mars unless we first develop artificial gravity.
We can never live outside of pressurized shelters on Mars because of the inadequate atmospheric pressure. You have to understand that the atmosphere around us is constantly pushing in on our bodies with the pressure of one bar of atmospheric pressure. In order to keep our bodies from being crushed by our atmospheric pressure, our bodies are pushing out with one bar of atmospheric pressure. If we significantly increase the atmospheric pressure on our bodies, we will be crushed and, if we significantly decrease the atmospheric pressure on our bodies, we will expand very quickly or explode.
On Mars, our bodies will be pushing out with a force at least 200 times greater than the force of the atmosphere pushing in on it. Two things will happen almost instantly if you were to step outside without a space suit. That much of a decrease in outside pressure on your body will cause the water in your body and cells to vaporize very quickly which will greatly increase the outward force of your body to much more than 200 times the atmospheric pressure. With this much of an imbalance in pressures, every cell in your body will turn into a very powerful, tiny bomb and you will turn into a cloud of molecules almost instantly. There wont be one cubic inch of tissue left. The explosion will probably destroy anything within a block or more of you and you will leave a really nice crater. But don't worry, it will happen so fast that your nerve and brain cells wont have time to process any signals so you wont fell a thing. You will be standing there one instant and then...POOF!!!
The stuff you see in the movies and on TV about people being blown out of air locks and floating off into space completely intact is incorrect. As soon as the pressure in the air lock decreased to a certain level, your body would explode with enough force to rip a hole in the side of the space ship and cause it to also explode or at least spew everyone and everything inside of it into space. All of the organic objects in the space vehicle would quickly explode. It is a matter of relative pressures. If an object exerts an outward force 200 to thousands of times greater than the inward pressure of the atmosphere, we call it a bomb. In Mars' atmosphere, you would be a bomb.