Daniel R. Adamo shared his experiences at NASA with a group of physics students and science junkies on Feb. 22 about humanity’s next destination, Mars.
The Red Planet has been one of the most enticing destinations since the dawn of space travel, and after countless launch attempts, a few destroyed robots and two rovers, Adamo believes that it is time to start thinking about the next step.
Adamo began working for NASA in 1979 as a real-time flight simulator, later developing a laptop named SPoC to be deployed into space.
In the late ’80s, he moved on to flight control, where he stayed until 2008 when he retired from flight control and moved on to conducting mission simulators.
Since then, he has led 10 missions himself and, in total, has been a part of over 60.
Adamo’s presentation covered the problems and potential solutions to the reality of getting humans to Mars.
Adamo compared Mars colonization to the Louisiana purchase of 1804, remarking that populating the Red Planet is a huge opportunity.
For decades, scientists have talked about the possibility of expanding our world into the solar system, but there are problems with current technology.
According to Adamo, the surface habitats that humans could potentially live in, current space suits and unpressurized rovers all provide inadequate shielding from the radiation in the atmosphere of the planet to support 500-day tours, let alone multi-generational pioneering in the 21st century.
There is also the issue of reduced gravity. It is still unclear whether or not humans have the ability to adapt to it.
In addition to radiation and gravity issues, the atmospheric pressure is 66 percent of Earth’s at sea level with a temperature of nearly 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
One possible solution is the hypothetical technology known as terraforming. This refers to the process of deliberately modifying the atmosphere, temperature and surface environment.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” senior physics student Drew Petersen said. “We still haven’t overcome the radiation problem, but it’s really exciting to see where we’re headed.”
While Adamo acknowledged the possible problems with populating Mars, or any planet, he believes that the possibility is still out there.