As long as we have existed, we have looked up to moon and planets and imagine living on them. The realistic dream of colonization of Mars and Moon took its present shape after first successful human mission to moon in the form of Apollo 11. Many scientists and philosophers consider becoming an interplanetary specie not a mere wish, but an essential need to grow as a specie. But there is a heating debate on whether we should colonize Moon or Mars. Here we are, to compare these two possible homes of our race. Following factors are to be considered:
To establish a colony, we would first have to reach there. The distance between Earth and Moon is 384,400 km, while the minimum distance from the Earth to Mars is about 54.6 million kilometres. The farthest apart they can be is about 401 million km. The average distance is about 225 million km. So, it would take a much stronger rocket, more fuel and way more time to reach Mars. While Moon is relatively just at the door step.So , from mars and moon , moon is better .
Well, there is virtually no atmosphere on Moon. Colonize are vulnerable to solar radiations and other dangerous inter Galactic cosmic. On the other hand, Mars do have an atmosphere. Compared to Earth’s atmosphere, it is only 1% as dense and is mainly composed of carbon dioxide. But this very thin layer can shield the possible colonies from harmful radiations and we can live on its surface. On this regard , from mars and moon , mars is a better option.
3-TEMPERATURE AND DAY LENGTH
One day on Mars is roughly the same length as on Earth (24 hours and 37 minutes). On the other hand, the length of a day on Moon is equals to 28 Earth days. So, it would be rather easy to adjust on Mars.
Due to short day, the day to night temperature difference on Mars is not so large. On average it remains around –60 degree Celsius. On the moon, the day is very hot and the night is very cold. There is an almost 300 degrees Celsius, or 572 degrees Fahrenheit, temperature difference between the day and night temperatures on the moon. Such a massive temperature change can cause problems for the inhabitants of colonies.
Another important factor for sustaining life is gravity. It is not only important to hold us to the surface but also is essential for blood circulation and other body mechanisms. The gravity on moon is 1.62 m/s², while on Mars it is 3.711 m/s². That means a 100 kg man on Moon will weight same as 16.g kg, while on Mars his weight would correspond to 37.8 kg. Many biologists and scientists believe that humans can adjust to gravity of Mars, but adjusting to gravity of Moon will be difficult. Consequently , from mars and moon , mars is better .
5-TRAVEL AND COMMUNICATION
With the current available spacecrafts, it takes less than 3 days to travel to moon. While travelling to Mars can take up to 6 months even when it is closest to Earth. As Mars comes close enough for launch only once in two years. So, launch has to be made during this 2 week launch window, or you would have to wait another 2 years. As Moon is only few hundred thousand kilometres away, the signals travelling with speed of light will take only few seconds (1.3 seconds). So, communication delay will be on order to few seconds. But for Mars, this delay can be from 4 minutes to 24 minutes, depending on the relative positions of Earth and Mars.
In addition to these factors enlisted, there are several other minor factors that are also taken into account while deciding the colonization of Mars and Moon. One thing we can comprehend is that Moon is too harsh and insecure to be a permanent residence. But it surely can be a stepping stone towards the much greater bliss for colonizing all the solar system. Mars is surely a good candidate, but for colonizing it we would have to develop better and stronger technology. Moon can be a testing place for this technology. So, on nutshell, Moon is better for near future temporary colonies, while Mars is the winner in the longer run.