Having already talked about Death on Mars, and Surviving Mars on these pages it seems reasonable to carry the discussion a little further. Especially given the extraordinary efforts being made by SpaceX to push forward the transport infrastructure for getting humans, lots of humans, to the red planet – as described in this eye-opening article by Eric Berger in Ars Technica.


Specifically, a pretty clear option for mitigating some of the hazards on Mars for humans is to get underground. As I have described previously, high energy cosmic rays can penetrate a few meters into Martian regolith, spraying secondary radiation into whoever is unfortunate enough to be there. In addition, the immediate surface environment is rich in nasty oxidizing chemicals, strong ultraviolet light, and occasionally pelted by small meteorites that fall intact because of Mars's thin atmosphere.


But do we really want to try to construct deeply buried and shielded habitats on a large scale? Far better to look for naturally occurring shelters.

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