- Humans have been sending missions to explore Mars for 50 years with the first launch in 1962.
- Mars has been littered with around 15,694 pounds of human trash left behind after such missions.
- The aftermath of such space pollution is a hazardous effect on the overall health of humans as well as hampered broadband services.
While the world has indeed entered into the golden age of space with an unprecedented boom in the space sector, the possibilities seem endless. But as every ancient proverb rings true, this coin also bears two sides.
While global media was plagued with the overwhelming coverage of billionaires, the likes of Amazon Ex-CEO Jeff Bezos and British business magnate Sir Richard Branson embarking on novel space flights, the other side of the story remains untold.
This other side is the burning discussion on space pollution. Sadly, our Earth is not the only planet that has been polluted and littered by humans. Our solar system neighbor, the red planet Mars has not been spared from the clutches of mankind and its ways either.
Pollution on Mars
Mars is littered with around 15,694 pounds of human trash left behind after almost 50 years of robotic explorations conducted by our race.
Humans have been exploring the geological surface of Mars since time immemorial to judge its ability to support life. The first mission to this Red planet dates back to November 1962.
A study conducted by the United Nations Office for Outer Oscar Affairs reveals that different nations have sent around 18 human-made objects to Mars over 14 separate missions. Some of the missions are still undergoing in full force under the guidance of billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in their conquest of the planet.
The result of almost 5 decades of martian exploration has left an immense amount of human trash and debris on the planet’s surface. Like anything that humans try to conquer, Mars was no exception to the downsides of our conquest where we often pollute and disturb the harmony.
Travel into time
Our quest of conquering the Red planet is not something new. Recently the will to colonize the planet has increased, but the seeds of this were planted long back as humans sent different orbiters and rovers to know more about the planet.
The 1960s, 70s and 80s saw about 25 launches on the planet. During the 90s and 200s, this obsession somewhat died down due to the previous failures as about 15 launches were undertaken. The success ratio increased which encouraged further missions.
The 200s and 2010s saw about 14 missions with even more increasing success. The rovers were highly developed and equipped with modern technology which brought this immense success.
And in 2020, already 3 successful launches have taken place and more are on the way. Mankind has indeed made a lot of progress on the planet since the first mission Mars 1 failed to launch back in 1962.
A dive into space pollution
Ever since the USSR launched Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite, space has become increasingly crowded. According to statistics given by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), there are around 4,852 active satellites currently in orbit and more than 3,000 inactive orbiters above our heads.
Such an unprecedented rise in space junk can create a nuisance in many fields. On Earth, we are dependent on space for defense, IT, and telecom solutions which also provide the most significant revenue opportunities.
In particular, satellite broadband internet can be morbidly affected if space pollution remains uncontrolled. Astronomers also intercept rising problems in the field of exploration. Navigation, weather and national security warnings, and climate and environmental monitoring all will be equally affected.
The aftereffect of space junk doesn’t simply transcend into the sky but it rather affects the health of humans on Earth directly as well.
Studies have found that increased launches of rockets from commercial space companies such as Blue Origin and SpaceX could have a significant cumulative effect on the climate. The major reason behind this detrimental effect is the number of carbon gases and nitrogen oxides that would be produced with every such launch.
According to the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – The number of nitrogen oxides which is released by an ascending rocket into two cubic kilometers of atmospheric air was found to be very hazardous to human health.