Episode 2: Greenhouses on Mars and other Misconceptions

You all know the beautiful illustrations of glass greenhouses on Mars. They make for nice images, but building greenhouses on Mars doesn’t make sense, Vermeulen explains. Martian dust will cover the glass and space radiation is too dangerous for crops as well as human beings. “It would make much more sense to build a growth chamber, which is like a closed room, with LED lighting and a fully controlled climate system.”
Mission to Mars
In Episode 1 Angelo Vermeulen shared his experience with Mission to Mars, a lecture series linking Space Research with Sustainable Horticulture. The scientific paper What horticulture and space exploration can learn from each other: The Mission to Mars initiative in the Netherlands about this initiative has been publiced recently in Acta Astronautica.

Space is not something separate. It is a tool with which we take care of earth
Deeply interwoven
According to Vermeulen, we need a different perspective on the impact of space exploration for human civilization. “I see space as [part of] one continuum, it is interwoven with life on earth. You can’t disconnect space exploration from what is happening here on earth any longer. It is deeply interwoven. Space is not something separate. It is a tool with which we can take care of the earth. So many technologies we use on a daily basis - like internet and gps - are dependent on space or have been created by space technologists.”

Vermeulen “believes it will be very exciting to live on Mars.” Living on the Moon and Mars will become part of human life, Vermeulen has no doubt about that. “It is basically an extrapolation of human history. People seek out new areas, resources, and locations.”

Going to Mars is a whole different story than going to the moon
Citizens of Space
Building a colony on Mars won’t happen anytime soon. “Going to Mars is a whole different story than going to the moon. It is hardly comparable.” When going to Mars, humans will first start with a scientific station. “Even the word colony is a very loaded word. Some people are advocating not to use the word colonization. We should talk about space settlement.”

Vermeulen believes in a post-planetary future. Living on a different planet is just one the options for human civilization. "Some people might rather live on an asteroid or in a settlement on moon or Mars. Or some might live in a spacecraft.”

NASA's Space-Digging RASSOR Robot
In the video Vermeulen talks about a space rover that can dig up regolith. Below video shows what it looks like.