Your kids might live on Mars. Here's how they'll survive | Stephen Petranek | Summary and Q&A

May 5, 2016
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Your kids might live on Mars. Here's how they'll survive | Stephen Petranek


In this content, the speaker discusses the possibility of colonizing Mars, the challenges involved, and the potential benefits of establishing a thriving colony on the planet.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why should we go to Mars?

We should go to Mars because we are vulnerable to the dangers in our own galaxy. There is a risk of a single large asteroid ending life on Earth forever. If we want to survive, we need to reach beyond our home planet. Additionally, exploration is ingrained in our DNA and has led to significant advances in civilization and technology.

Q: How far away is Mars?

Mars is a thousand times farther away from us than our own moon. It is 250 million miles away, which means it would take around eight months to travel there. The distance that the rocket would have to travel can only be covered in the shortest amount of time when Mars and Earth are aligned in a specific way.

Q: When will humans land on Mars?

The speaker believes that humans will land on Mars in 2027. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, has stated that we will land on Mars by 2025. Given Musk's track record of revolutionizing the automobile industry and creating a successful rocket company in less than ten years, it is likely that he can achieve this goal.

Q: How will humans sustain life on Mars?

Humans will need food, water, shelter, oxygen, and clothing to sustain life on Mars. Water can be obtained from the soil, as it contains up to 60% water, and there are also underground water sources and glaciers on Mars. Oxygen can be generated from the Martian atmosphere using a device developed by MIT. Food can be grown using hydroponics, while shelters can be built using 3D printing and the Martian soil. Clothing and spacesuits will protect humans from the harsh environment.

Q: How will Mars be made more habitable for humans?

Terraforming Mars is the process of making the planet more Earth-like. This can be achieved by warming up Mars through the sublimation of frozen carbon dioxide at the poles. By heating up the dry ice, it will thicken the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect and raising the temperature. The thicker atmosphere will provide more protection from radiation and allow for running water and the possibility of growing crops. However, making Mars' atmosphere breathable may take up to 1,000 years to accomplish.


In this video, the speaker discusses the possibility of colonizing Mars and the reasons why we should undertake this venture. He explains the challenges of living on Mars and the technology that will be necessary to sustain human life on the planet. The speaker also discusses the future prospects of terraforming Mars to make it more like Earth and the potential for creating a thriving civilization on the planet. He emphasizes the importance of becoming a spacefaring species for the survival of humanity.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is it important for us to colonize Mars?

Colonizing Mars is important for several reasons. Firstly, it would allow us to ensure the survival of humanity in the event of a catastrophic event on Earth, such as an asteroid impact. Additionally, exploration and expansion are part of human nature, and throughout history, great advances in civilization and technology have come as a result of exploration. Furthermore, colonizing Mars would inspire and challenge us as a species, leading to new discoveries and advancements in science and technology.

Q: What are the challenges of living on Mars?

Living on Mars presents numerous challenges. Firstly, the planet is far from Earth, and it takes a significant amount of time to travel there. Additionally, the atmosphere on Mars is thin and not breathable, with high levels of carbon dioxide. The average temperature is extremely cold, and the planet is subjected to high levels of radiation. Moreover, Mars lacks an abundant supply of resources necessary for survival, such as water and breathable air.

Q: How do we address the challenges of living on Mars?

To address the challenges of living on Mars, we need to develop advanced technology and sustainable systems. For example, we can extract water from the Martian soil and ice, which can be used for drinking, farming, and as a source of oxygen. We can also use machines that can convert the Martian atmosphere into breathable air. In terms of food production, hydroponics can be used to grow crops, and we can import dried food supplies from Earth until we can establish self-sustaining agriculture on Mars. Furthermore, shelters can be constructed using the Martian soil, and protective clothing can be designed to shield astronauts from the harsh environment.

Q: Can Mars be terraformed to make it more like Earth?

Yes, it is theoretically possible to terraform Mars to make it more Earth-like. This would involve a long-term process of altering the planet's atmosphere and climate. One approach is to warm up Mars by releasing carbon dioxide stored in the polar ice caps into the atmosphere to create a greenhouse effect. This would then lead to the melting of ice, the creation of running water, and the development of rain and snow on Mars. The thicker atmosphere would also provide protection from radiation and create enough pressure for humans to live without spacesuits. However, the process of making Mars fully habitable could take thousands of years.

Q: How do private companies play a role in space exploration and colonization?

Private companies have become increasingly involved in space exploration and colonization. They are now at the forefront of innovation and are developing the technology and infrastructure necessary for space travel. Companies like SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, are working on building rockets and spacecraft capable of reaching Mars. These companies are not limited by the constraints of government funding and bureaucracy, and they are more nimble in their approach to innovation. They are actively pursuing missions to Mars and are likely to be the ones to take humans to the planet.

Q: When will humans likely land on Mars?

The timeline for humans landing on Mars is still uncertain, but various organizations have set different goals. NASA aims to land humans on Mars by 2040, while some experts believe it could happen by 2050. However, Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, is optimistic and believes that humans will land on Mars as early as 2025 or 2027. Given his track record of success in the electric vehicle and rocket industries, it is possible that Musk's ambitious timeline could be achieved.

Q: What would life be like on Mars?

Life on Mars would initially be challenging and reliant on imported supplies from Earth. However, as infrastructure and technology develop, a colony on Mars could become more self-sustaining. People would engage in various activities similar to life on Earth, such as starting businesses, building infrastructure, and developing recreational activities. It would be a community with jobs ranging from restaurants and hotels to software companies and entertainment options. In the long term, as Mars becomes more habitable through terraforming, the environment could become similar to certain regions on Earth.

Q: How would living on Mars make us a spacefaring species?

Establishing a colony on Mars would mark a significant milestone for humanity, transforming us into a spacefaring species. It would demonstrate our ability to venture beyond our home planet and establish a permanent presence on another celestial body. By expanding our capabilities beyond the confines of Earth, we ensure the survival of our species even if something were to happen to our home planet. Additionally, the knowledge and technology gained from colonizing Mars would pave the way for further space exploration and potentially lead to the colonization of other planets or moons in our solar system and beyond.

Q: What is the significance of becoming a spacefaring species?

Becoming a spacefaring species is crucial because it ensures the long-term survival of humanity. By venturing out into space and establishing colonies on other celestial bodies, we become less vulnerable to the risks and challenges that Earth faces, such as natural disasters, pandemics, or even human-made catastrophes. Becoming a spacefaring species also opens up vast opportunities for scientific discoveries, technological advancements, and new frontiers for exploration. It signifies our ability to adapt, evolve, and push the boundaries of human potential.

Q: How does the speaker view the timeline for landing humans on Mars?

The speaker, while acknowledging the challenges, is optimistic about the timeline for landing humans on Mars. He believes that humans will land on Mars by 2027, driven by the determination and innovation of individuals like Elon Musk, who have already made significant progress in transforming industries such as electric vehicles and space travel. The speaker believes that the technology to make this possible already exists, and private companies are leading the way in making it a reality. His belief is rooted in the rapid progress made in various fields, making it likely that the timeline for Mars colonization can be achieved sooner than expected.


The colonization of Mars holds great potential for humanity. It would ensure our survival as a species and inspire new discoveries and advancements in science and technology. Challenges such as the distance, harsh environment, and lack of resources on Mars can be overcome through advanced technology and sustainable systems. The possibility of terraforming Mars and making it habitable offers a long-term vision for creating an Earth-like environment. Private companies, such as SpaceX, are playing a crucial role in driving Mars exploration, and their innovative approaches are likely to lead the way. Ultimately, becoming a spacefaring species not only secures our future but also opens up limitless opportunities for exploration and expansion beyond Earth.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Thousands of people will colonize Mars in the near future, with some of their children eventually living there.

  • The main reasons for colonizing Mars are to ensure human survival in the event of a catastrophe on Earth and to continue the legacy of exploration.

  • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, plans to land humans on Mars by 2027, and private companies are leading the charge in space exploration.

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