Planetary Colonization blog-post

Should we colonize Mercury instead of Mars?

Josh
Josh

Earth

Should we colonize Mercury instead of Mars?

The short answer is: Mercury's extreme temperature fluctuations, solar radiation, and lack of an atmosphere would make it very difficult, if not impossible, for people to live on the planet. Mercury is not likely a planet that humans would ever want to colonize.

With that said, it could theoretically be achieved. Mars's high temperatures and thin atmosphere make Mercury colonization theoretically possible. Despite its abundant energy and other minerals, Mercury's colonization is not yet feasible because of its poor living conditions and the difficulties in terraforming.

The lack of atmosphere and the high radiation levels of colonizing Mercury pose complex challenges that cannot easily be achieved. The proximity of the sun and lack of any detectable atmosphere on Mercury will also render Mercury's radiation environment considerably more dangerous than that on Mars. Gravity on Mars is relatively favorable to human survival. Mercury is a harsh environment, being the closest planet to our sun.

Despite being the closest planet to our sun in the solar system, Mercury is surprisingly not the warmest (that honor goes to Venus). While Venus is warm throughout the day and into the night, Mercury, since it has no atmosphere to capture and distribute heat, is among the coldest places in the Solar System at night, when the sun is not shining, at -170degC. Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, can provide a more vibrant existence than Venus.

Mars is also frequently portrayed in science fiction as the object of space colonization. Mercury has been proposed as a possible space colonization target, alongside other Inner Solar System planets Mars and Venus, as well as the Moon. Asteroids, including those in the Asteroid Belt, have been suggested as possible sites of human colonization.

This may make the colonization of our moon, Mercury, and the major belt asteroids more practical. If mankind truly wants to be a multi-planetary species, it will need to colonize other space objects like the Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus.

As it turns out, colonizing the harsh, alien atmosphere on Mars by humans (if we are ever to get there) could speed up the evolution of our species. Suppose we reach Mars and create a colony of permanent residents. In that case, factors such as the relatively high radiation, low gravity, and extensive changes to the way we live might spur major evolutionary changes to the body--far faster than what has happened on Earth. With the proper strategies and technologies to survive a hostile environment, humans might be able to build a life on Mercury.

While the idea of living, working, or visiting a planet like Mercury may seem something from sci-fi (or crazy), the idea of surviving is grounded in scientific fact. Mercury is about the size of Earth's moon, but it is extremely dense, with gravity similar to that of Mars, which is roughly 38% the size of the planet.

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Read More About Mercury:

Is There Life on Mercury?
No, life as we know it would not be able to survive on Mercury due to extreme temperature fluctuations, proximity to the Sun, and being void of an atmosphere.
Can Humans Live on Mercury?
No, humans can not live on Mercury due to extreme temperature fluctuations, solar radiation, and a thin atmosphere.

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