Water found on Mars, now humans?

The concept of human colonization on other planets goes way back, but NASA has made it clear that it plans to do just that at some point in the future.

Last month’s groundbreaking announcement of seeping liquid saltwater on the surface of Mars has thrown everyone into a frenzy. As the chances of finding alien life grow, so do the chances of colonizing the rocky planet for future human habitation.

According to the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act and U.S. National Space Policy, it has been estimated that humans won’t set foot on Mars until the 2030s. However, these new findings will help us further understand the history of our fellow cosmic neighbor and answer some of our age-old questions.

Soon after the announcement, NASA even took to the social media website Reddit to speak about their findings on an “Ask me Anything” thread. Composed of key personnel, the scientists addressed questions from the quantity and volume of the saltwater to whether it was drinkable and safe for human consumption, in addition to addressing what procedures would be taken if life or some other anomaly was detected on the planet.

We’re all clearly excited, but what’s next on the agenda?

According to a detailed plan by NASA, there are three thresholds to overcome in order to send people to the red planet: the “Earth Reliant,” “Proving Ground” and “Earth Independent” phases.

Each step carefully details the intricacies and internal procedures necessary for such a trip, including research onboard the International Space Station to determine what technology is suitable for the journey and “earth independent” activities on Mars which will enable astronauts to conduct tests and experiments on the rocky planet itself.

The ultimate goal is to become “independent” from Earth, according to the NASA report. Living on Mars means needing to be able to sustain healthy lifestyles and maintain proper working and living conditions in space, all of which are pioneering challenges that NASA plans to address.

Our presence on Mars will initiate a new age in space exploration. The journey and research conducted there would benefit the human race in unimaginable ways. It would also jumpstart our space-related activities as we travel farther into the solar system.

If the Apollo moon landing has taught us anything, it’s that the hope and resilience of the human race have no bounds. The small pocket of humans that we’ll send to Mars will usher in a new age as we take the next step into the unknown. If all goes well, we’re sure to reach Mars in a few decades time.