Astronomy is a magical science. You get to see and learn things that you thought only existed in sci-fi movies. In the recent years, astronomy has been more focused and determined in finding planets that can sustain life form. The Kepler satellite program is a similar project that was launched in the year 2009 for the sole purpose of discovering planets in the far away universe that humans can colonize if the need be. Mother Earth has been bearing with us for a long time and the as the trends are showing, human exploitative activities on Earth will soon lead to the exhaustion of all the resources on the planet. In such a situation, the only solution that comes to the mind is the colonization of other celestial landmasses for the survival of the human race and the birth of the next generation of the human race. We have brought together a list of planets and celestial objects that are big enough and can sustain human life.
It is quite understood, that finding a planet just like Earth in this vast universe is quite difficult but not impossible. And while we might be successful in our efforts in discovering such planets, it might not be as simple as it would seem. The climatic conditions, reaction to certain elements, the possibility of other life forms, etc. are a few factors that also need to be considered. But again, although it may seem extremely difficult, it is not impossible to colonize celestial land masses.
The first and obvious choice is our very own satellite, the Moon. A major factor for this is because of its proximity from the Earth. The moon has various other advantages that make it a very suitable choice for future human colonization. The magnetic field of the Moon is fragile and the atmosphere on Moon is near negligible but geological locations can prove to be very efficient early colonies for human habilitation. The moon has resources as well which can be used as a source of energy. These resources, namely, iron, aluminum, titanium, and helium can be used for fueling a thermo-nuclear reactor. There are disadvantages as well to this story. Huge temperature variations, moonquakes of great magnitude, two-week long day, and vulnerability to nearby meteors and asteroids are one of the major reasons why exploring other options for human colonization should be considered.
What comes to your mind when you hear of ‘Mars’? The legendary Greek God of war? Well, to physicists it refers to a planet that has the potential to serve as a host for humans in the not so distant future. As a matter of fact, NASA is planning to launch a manned expedition to the fourth planet in our solar system. Mars and Earth have certain things in common. For instance, the seasons on Mars are very similar. A cold weather on the red planet is followed by a warm one. But the difference is that the numbers are a tad extreme. The cold season is too cold for comfort, and the warm season is too hot for survival. In addition to this, there are frequent storms and turbulences that can easily demolish any important equipment needed for colonization. Although, through a structured and organized approach will get us through all this and maybe someday we would successfully habilitate on the neighboring red planet.
Essentially a dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter and a very prominent candidate for human colonization. It orbits our sun and is located in the asteroid belt. As per astronomical estimations, Ceres can possibly be consisting of 25 percent water, which is more fresh water than Earth. Being located between gas giants and rocky planets, Ceres can also be used as an intermediate space station for space travel. In addition to that, the low gravity of the dwarf planet will also lead to extremely low transportation costs. It is also to be noted that Ceres is orbiting in the asteroid belt, which means it can be used as a site for asteroid exploration. Asteroids are celestial objects which are rich in minerals and resources that can be utilized by us. However, all is not milk and roses in Ceres as various factors can cause a major hindrance on the road to the colonization of Ceres. The asteroid belt can cause a problem as the gravity and magnetic field is not sufficiently strong to keep asteroids away from us. These asteroids can cause havoc and destruct space stations and bases. Other factors such as limited sunlight and low gravity are factors to be taken note of. The lack of sunlight may cause mental disorders like depression and the absence of a strong gravitational force will cause health issues like muscle atrophy.
Europa is Jupiter’s fourth biggest moon. According to scientific data, it is possible to use Europa to our advantage and survive off of Earth. Europa’s icy crust has the potential of holding entire oceans of liquid water. If this estimate turns out to be true, the water underneath the crust can be used for technical, industrial, and domestic purposes. The downside of this magnificent satellite is that it is exposed to lethal solar radiation that would need proper radiation shielding if humans were to survive on it. The temperature of Europa is not quite friendly either. Estimated to be somewhere around negative 170 degrees Celsius, Europa will freeze humans to death. Not to forget, the low gravity will also lead to muscular atrophy. Also, the possibility of aquatic life in the waters of Europa is also frightening.
Saturn’s largest moon has made it to the list not because it is the perfect place for human habilitation, but because it has the necessary elements that can facilitate human life force. It can also act as a terminal base for humans who might be traveling further into space. However, to think of it, living on Titan would not be impossible. The atmosphere of Titan consists of 90 percent nitrogen along with other hydrocarbons. This is something that not many planets or celestial landmasses can offer. The atmospheric pressure on Titan is about one and a half times to that of the Earth’s which can be adapted to by the humans. Titan also has a very dense atmosphere due to the heightened atmospheric pressure. This additionally solves the issue of straying asteroids and meteors hitting the surface. But there are problems as well. The combination of hydrocarbons and oxygen is not a stable one as they are very explosive. We would also need proper thermal insulation and heat generation.
There are other major celestial landmasses which have the potential of hosting humanity if mother Earth decides to give up on us. But there is another breakthrough discovery that has taken place in the recent years that has given us new hope colonizing planets in outer space. This landmass was discovered by the team of a team of NASA scientists who are behind the Kepler astronomical satellite project. This planet also called the Kepler 186F is around 10 percent larger than Earth. The exact composition of the planet is still unknown. It is estimated that there is liquid water on the planet. The planet is the only one in its solar system that is at a distance suitable enough for liquid water to exist on it.
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