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. Accessed on January 21, 2016. Suppressions for pedagogical purposes (omission of excerpts with inadequate language level or advertising) marked with […]. Occasional linguistic adjustments to fit standard language marked with [ ].

The Red Planet

“[…] Mars’ reddish color is quite visible to the naked eye. This color is due to the presence of iron oxide dust, a.k.a. rust. While this doesn’t mean that Mars is made up of rust, it would be safe to say that the planet is fully covered with it. […]”

Extract from the text available at . Accessed on January 27, 2016.

5 Based on the text in activity 4, decide whether these statements are true or false.

a Scientists already know what to do to make Mars an inhabitable place.

True. Professor/a, o texto revela que os cientistas sabem como utilizar a tecnologia para lidar com os desafios impostos pelo planeta Marte em relação à sua colonização (a geoengenharia, por exemplo, já possui tecnologia para converter dióxido de carbono em oxigênio).
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b Similarities between Earth and Mars make the project of colonizing the planet viable.



True. Professor/a, as semelhanças entre os planetas Terra e Marte tornam o projeto de colonização viável, bem como a proximidade entre ambos.

c Permanent human settlement on Mars is risky for the settlers’ health due to Martian lower gravity.



True. Professor/a, a longo prazo, habitar Marte traria danos à saúde humana, como perda de massa muscular e problemas ósseos (por exemplo, a osteoporose), em virtude da baixa gravidade.

d Terraforming has to do with the origin of planets like Earth and Mars.



False. Professor/a, terraformação é o processo de transformar as condições de outros planetas de forma a deixá-las semelhantes às da Terra, tornando possível a vida humana neles.

e The proposed manned missions to Mars, mentioned in the text, have similar projects.



True. Professor/a, apesar de pontuar os desafios da missão de colonização de Marte, o texto deixa claro que eles não são necessariamente intransponíveis, conforme se lê em “[...] the challenges to creating a permanent settlement on Mars are numerous, but not necessarily insurmountable.”

f Despite the numerous challenges to creating a permanent settlement on Mars, the text makes it clear that it may be possible to colonize the planet.



False. Professor/a, as missões de colonização/exploração de Marte têm projetos diferentes. Por exemplo, Mars One é uma missão que prevê a viagem de ida à Marte de apenas quatro astronautas a cada dois anos, sem retorno; já as empresas SpaceX e Tesla planejam colonizar Marte com uma população de 80.000 pessoas e desenvolver veículos espaciais que façam viagens de ida e de volta entre Marte e a Terra.

6 In your notebook, choose the alternative that best completes these statements about the text.

a Among the factors that make Mars an appealing planet to colonize are…
I Mars’ distance to Earth and its gravity condition.
II its low temperature and availability of water.
III prospects for generating food and oxygen and same basic seasonal pattern as Earth.

Resposta: III

b The text predicts that…


I water will be necessary for human consumption in Mars.
II the economy on Mars will most likely be based on real estate.
III a permanent settlement on Mars will occur in 2023.

Resposta: II

c A spaceflight system that would rely on reusable rocket engines is being developed by…


I NASA.
II Roscosmos.
III SpaceX and Tesla.

Resposta: III

7 According to the text in activity 4, which technologies or actions are required for each of these procedures? Write the answers in your notebook.

a Converting much of the CO2 in the atmosphere into breathable oxygen.

Use organisms like cyanobacteria and phytoplankton.

b Increasing the atmospheric pressure so that it would eliminate the need for pressure suits.



Trigger a greenhouse effect by importing ammonia ice from the atmospheres of other planets in our Solar System.

c Protecting against radiation exposure.



Build habitats underground.

d Going outside the habitats.



Wear oxygen tanks and pressure suits.

8 What is Mars like? Draw this chart in your notebook and complete it with information from the text.



Temperature

The average surface temperature is -55 °C (-67 °F), and at the poles, temperatures can reach as low as -153 °C (-243 °F).

Atmosphere

About 95% of the planet’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide, which is unbreathable.

Gravity

Only about 40% of what we experience on Earth.

Radiation

Ionizing radiation is able to reach the Martian surface due to its thin atmosphere and lack of a global magnetic field comparable to Earth’s geomagnetic field.

NOTEBOOK NOTEBOOK

9 How could human life adjust to Mars’ environmental conditions?



On Mars, people could live in underground habitats to shelter from radiation and oxygenless air. They could make their own air, water and even fuel by splitting Martian water into oxygen and hydrogen. Water could be extracted and purified for consumption. They could also grow Earth plants, which, besides providing food, would create a breathable atmosphere.
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After reading

10 In your notebook, match the information from the chart in activity 8 to the following aspects to explain Mars’ inhospitality.

a Difficulty to move around the planet.

Reduced gravity (40% of gravity compared to Earth).

b Endangerment of human life and risk of getting cancer and other complications.



Ionizing radiation.

c Inability to breath.



High rate of carbon dioxide (and low rate of oxygen).

d Struggle to keep the body warm.



Low average surface temperature (below freezing point).

11 A possible way to face the challenge of living in a high radiation environment like Mars is by genetically modifying people. However, according to the article “U.S. Views of Technology and the Future” (pages 22 and 23), 66% of American citizens think that “it would be a change for the worse if prospective parents could alter the DNA of their children to produce smarter, healthier or more athletic offspring”. With this in mind, discuss these questions with your classmates.



Respostas pessoais.

a What is your opinion on altering people’s DNA so that they would be able to live on Mars?

b What are some possible ethical pros and cons?

12 Another technology that could contribute to human settlement in the Red Planet is 3D printing. How do you think this technology could do that?



Respostas pessoais. Professor/a, uma resposta possível seria que tal tecnologia, ao possibilitar a produção de uma gama de itens, evitaria que tais itens tivessem de ser levados da terra para o espaço (por exemplo, seria possível construir casas utilizando a impressão de suas partes para os futuros habitantes de Marte, o que poderia resolver o problema de levar a estrutura móvel de diversas casas para aquele planeta).

13 The text mentions a few things about the program Mars One. What is it about? Would you apply for such a program? Why?



Mars One is a plan designed in 2012 by a group of Dutch entrepreneurs. The plan calls for a series of one-way missions to establish a permanent and expanding colony on Mars that would be financed with the help of media participation. Other details on the Mars One plan include sending a telecom orbiter by 2018, a rover in 2020, and the base components and its settlers by 2023. The base would be powered by 3,000 square meters of solar panels and the SpaceX Falcon9 Heavy rocket would be used to launch the hardware. The first crew of four astronauts would land on Mars in 2025; then, every two years, a new crew of four astronauts would arrive there.

14 Read this text about some of the people who applied for Mars One and are among the finalists. Then discuss the questions in groups.



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