Before our race decides to muster the courage to populate our solar system, we need to figure out our current strengths and weaknesses, as well as threats to colonizing a world.
Although Mars remains an attractive target for a new home, we may need to test our skills on a much closer body.
(Physorg.com) On the Moon, astronauts can develop and test techniques for building habitats, harvesting resources and operating machinery in low gravity, high vacuum, harsh radiation, pervasive dust and fantastic extremes of temperature—an environment whose prolonged combination is simply impossible to duplicate on Earth. What they learn will be useful not only on the Moon, but also essential for preparations in going to Mars.
Despite its awe and wonder, we must all realize that space is a very hostile environment, one where the slightest mistake could lead towards ones end within seconds. Even with all of our vast technology, humans are still very much dependent upon Earth for survival, as we have yet to develop a self sustaining biosphere.
Mars may inspire the masses, but it will be the Moon that proves whether or not our species has what it takes to survive off-world, let alone thrive millions of miles away from our home planet.
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