Small, inconspicuous moons fly close to Earth.  These are the places we should travel to before we go to Mars

Currently, there are still many technologies missing to actually begin implementing such a plan. However, the first step in this direction would be to return to the Moon and create a kind of inhabited base there, where subsequent crews of astronauts or scientists will be able to stay permanently. Just as at the beginning of the conquest of space, the astronauts only flew into orbit for a few days, until the Mir Station was finally built there, then the International Space Station and the Tiangong Station. Virtually since the beginning of the twenty-first century, there has not been a day without someone in Earth's orbit. Now we need to achieve the same on the Moon, and in the future also on Mars.

However, establishing a base on a planet other than Earth would require transporting massive amounts of materials and supplies. Even if we wanted to build lunar habitats from materials available on the surface of the Silver Globe, we would have to bring powerful 3D printers to the Moon that could do it. The same thing will happen with Mars in the future.

One of the most serious problems we have to solve first is the infeasibility of transporting goods from the ground. The more cargo we want to transport from Earth to space, the more fuel we will consume. Due to the fact that fuel also weighs, the more fuel we have to use to lift the load, the more fuel we need to carry that fuel.

Establishing a base on the Moon, and over time, for example, establishing production factories on the Moon, may increase our chances of being able to conquer Mars. No matter how you look at it, lifting the payload from the surface of the Moon, where there is no atmosphere and the force of gravity is incomparably less, would be much easier than lifting it from Earth. Furthermore, fuel can be produced on the Moon. The rockets can refuel there, providing more fuel after launch for the journey to Mars and beyond.

In the latest interview With the portal Live Science Astronomer Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests a more extreme solution. According to the researcher, there is no need to use the moon in this way. More than 30,000 asteroids pass near Earth's orbit from time to time. Among them are what are called small moons that revolve around the sun and move around it with the Earth. Binzel points out that such small moons could be reached using relatively little fuel.

But a question can be asked here: Why do we land on a small space rock? However, the astronomer says that it is enough to deliver the rocket to the surface of this rock, produce fuel on site from available resources, replenish supplies and take off from there, using a minimum of fuel.

Read also: How to refuel in orbit? The US Space Force wants to provide fuel for satellites

Just look at the plan to send spacecraft to the moon. The current plan is to send an empty spacecraft into Earth orbit, which will serve there as an orbital refueling station. After that, many spaceships need to transfer fuel in parts to fill the “spacecraft station” tanks. Only after this series of flights will it be possible to send a lunar spacecraft into orbit, which will be able to refuel from the orbital fuel station in order to fly to the vicinity of the Moon. This is a very complex and expensive process.

However, if reaching the Moon, which is 360,000 kilometers away from us, is very difficult, then reaching Mars, which is tens of millions of kilometers away, with such a rocket will be incomparably more difficult. For this reason, Binzel believes that small moons will be good targets for human missions even before we develop the ability to fly (let alone land) to Mars.

No matter how you look at it, once we have the Moon relatively under control, we'll need an additional target for astronauts, who will be the first to go beyond the Earth-Moon system on manned missions lasting several months. Small moons would be an excellent target for such missions. No matter how you look at it, there will always be somewhere to land and do something, rather than just floating in space.

Read also: Earth has a second moon! An exceptional discovery by a Polish astronomer

It is worth paying attention to another fact here. There is no need to organize separate research programs for suitable small satellites. One of the most important tasks that astronomers perform is searching the sky for asteroids that are likely to be on a collision course with Earth. All search programs for such dangerous objects inevitably lead to the discovery of small moons that wander with us in the solar system around the sun. Just choose where you can fly to, and perhaps where you can land for a while.

It turns out that not only the Moon and Mars are waiting for us in space. It may turn out that there are many things in our immediate space environment that we might want to fly into. Who knows, maybe before a man travels to Mars and puts his spacesuit boots on the rusty sand, another astronaut will put his foot on the surface of a rock whose name we don't yet know. This would certainly be a step towards establishing permanent human settlements in space.

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