Professor Lewis Dartnell, Professor in Science Communication, was quoted in Metro on space colonisation and the possibility of a first off-planet colony as an alternative to Earth.
Some experts, predicting that humanity may face a civilisation-threatening disaster in the next century, suggest that the creation of the first off-planet permanent colony could be the alternative.
In an interview with Metro, Professor Lewis Dartnell commented on this possibility: “In the next 100 years, it’s very feasible we will have a self-sustaining colony on the Moon or Mars. These could then keep themselves going and serve as a sort of ‘backup file’ if we suffered some sort of apocalypse event here on Earth.”
He explained why Mars could be the best location for a space colonisation and said: “There’s much more stuff you can use there [than on the Moon]. Nasa is very keen on what’s called ‘In Situ Resource Utilisation’ which basically means using the stuff you’ve got up there. So, they would send astronauts up with basic infrastructure and then use Martian regolith to build things.”
He added: “They would also thaw out the subsurface ice to create water on the planet. Mars is more likely a destination because there’s more you can use – the Moon is closer but it’s that much more barren. Bear in mind that Elon Musk is already talking, very credibly, about the first human missions to mars taking place in the next ten years.”