By Dr. Alexander Kumar, BBC News, 09.22.12
In the second instalment of his two-part feature on human missions to Mars, Dr Alexander Kumar - who has been overwintering at Concordia Station, Antarctica - asks whether we should send people to the Red Planet given our poor record managing this one.
Much like the interior of Antarctica, Mars remains inhospitable.
For humans to live on the planet for any significant period of time would require the recycling of water and air, along with other so-called "life systems".
At Concordia station in Antarctica (my current home) we use "grey water recycling" - taking the water generated from domestic activities such as laundry, bathing and dishwashing and recycling it on-site for other uses. This mirrors the system used on the International Space Station (ISS).
But there are even grander ideas that could further extend the duration of human habitation on Mars.
Whether or not we find Martian life, there is a long-standing wish to "terraform" the Red Planet. This would involve artificially transforming the climate and surface to enable humans to live there without life support systems.
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