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What Will Happen to Earth When the Sun Dies? Stars are born, they live, and they die. The sun is no different, and when it goes, the Earth goes with it. But our planet won't go quietly into the night. Rather, when the sun expands into a red giant during the throes of death, it will vaporize the Earth. Perhaps not the story you were hoping for, but there's no need to start buying star-death insurance yet. So what happens when the sun goes out?

There's enough hydrogen to keep this process going for billions of years. That helium core, though, will start to collapse in on itself. A 2008 study by astronomers Klaus-Peter Schröder and Robert Connon Smith estimated that the sun will get so large that its outermost surface layers will reach about 108 million miles (about 170 million kilometers) out, absorbing the planets Mercury, Venus and Earth. On the bright side, the sun's luminosity is increasing by a factor of about 10 percent every billion years. But even Mars won't last as a habitable planet. The 12 Greatest Challenges for Space Exploration. Humanity began in Africa. But we didn’t stay there, not all of us—over thousands of years our ancestors walked all over the continent, then out of it. And when they came to the sea, they built boats and sailed tremendous distances to islands they could not have known were there.

Why? Probably for the same reason we look up at the moon and the stars and say, “What’s up there? Space is, of course, infinitely more hostile to human life than the surface of the sea; escaping Earth’s gravity entails a good deal more work and expense than shoving off from the shore. I could tell you about spin-off technologies, ranging from small products of convenience to discoveries that might feed millions or prevent deadly accidents or save the lives of the sick and injured. I could tell you that we shouldn’t keep all our eggs in this increasingly fragile basket—one good meteor strike and we all join the non-avian dinosaurs. It’s a huge, dangerous, maybe impossible project. Humanity was born on Earth. JFK - We choose to go to the Moon, full length. Why we can't send humans to Mars yet, and how we'll fix that | WIRED UK. While humans have dreamed about going to Mars practically since it was discovered, an actual mission in the foreseeable future is finally starting to feel like a real possibility.

But how real is it? Nasa says it's serious about one day doing a manned mission while private companies are jockeying to present ever-more audacious plans to get there. And equally important, public enthusiasm for the Red Planet is riding high after the Curiosity rover's spectacular landing and photo-rich mission. Earlier this month, scientists, Nasa officials, private space company representatives and other members of the spaceflight community gathered in Washington D.C. for three days to discuss all the challenges at the Humans to Mars (H2M) conference, hosted by the spaceflight advocacy group Explore Mars, which has called for a mission that would send astronauts in the 2030s.

The good news is that there's nothing technologically impossible about a manned Mars mission. Getting off the Earth Fuel storage. Five Problems With Sending Humans to Mars — SpaceBounder. High doses of cosmic and solar rays can have adverse affects on the central nervous system, such as: impaired cognitive function and motor skills, behavioral changes, and a slightly increased risk of developing fatal cancer at some point in any given astronaut's lifetime. Extreme exposure could potentially lead to radiation sickness, and symptoms which include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

NASA currently holds the position that any spacecraft heading for Mars with a human crew on board will need to incorporate an increased amount of radiation shielding—the more the better. But with added shielding comes added weight to the spacecraft, and every added kilogram could prolong the journey to Mars, leaving astronauts exposed to cosmic and solar rays for even longer periods of time. Further reading: "What were you saying about that deadly space radiation? Here are the facts. " Why Is It So Hard to Travel to Mars? The Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters were perhaps two of the most prominent reminders of how crucial it is that everything work just right for a spacecraft to travel to space and successfully return back to Earth.

Whether it was the failure of the seal used to stop hot gases from seeping through, or a piece of foam insulation that damaged the thermal protection system, scientists and engineers must make thousands of predictions of all the things that could go wrong during flight. NASA's human Mars mission presents even more challenges of sending humans safely to a farther distance and to a more dangerous environment. Designing an aircraft that can safely enter and exit Mars' unpredictable atmosphere is a big challenge.

[Gallery: Future Visions of Human Spaceflight] "Each time we fly to Mars, we learn a little more and get a little smarter," said Walter Engelund of NASA's Langley Research Center. Managing the Weight On Jan. 14, 2004, President George W. Spotlight. Two out of three missions to the red planet have failed. One reason there have been so many losses is that there have been so many attempts. "Mars is a favorite target," says Dr. Firouz Naderi, manager of the Mars Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We -- the United States and former USSR -- have been going to Mars for 40 years. The first time we flew by a planet, it was Mars. The first time we orbited a planet, it was Mars. Another reason is that getting to Mars is hard.

To get there, Spirit and Opportunity, the two Mars Exploration Rovers launched this past June and July, will have to fly through about 483 million kilometers (300 million miles) of deep space and target a very precise spot to land. The space environment isn't friendly. The road to the launch pad is nearly as daunting as the journey to Mars. If getting to Mars is hard, landing there is even harder. Mars doesn't exactly put out a welcome mat. No matter how hard it is, getting to Mars is just the beginning.