A space operations engineer from France's National Center for Space Studies (CNES) suggested that before establishing a human colony on Mars, the technological systems that will be used in these facilities should be tested out on the Moon first. For Erwan Beauvois of CNEOS, the lunar environment offers a perfect opportunity to test out some of the main systems and technologies that space agencies are planning to use on Mars. Doing so would provide valuable information regarding the possibility of establishing a habitable colony on the Red Planet.
"There's a long road leading to sustainability, but there are opportunities for technology transfer," Beauvois said during the recent International Astronautical Congress according to Space.com.
"A good moon program is a good Mars program. If you think of the space program as a road map, it can be coherent, and it is pretty beneficial to do this."
One of the technologies that Beauvois suggested is the development of an artificial ecosystem on the Moon. Ideally, this artificial system would be designed to cultivate microorganisms such as algae and bacteria that can recycle air and waste on the Moon. The goal of this system is to produce precious resources such as food and oxygen. This kind of ecosystem could minimize the need for regular resupply missions to a space colony.
Another system that the operations engineer discussed is the extraction of water from dust on the Moon. According to Beauvois, this method can also be applied to the soil on Mars, which would serve as an important step in establishing a habitable colony on the Red Planet. The space engineer's suggestions can be carried out on NASA's upcoming lunar mission for its latest spaceflight program known as Artemis. As explained by the agency, the Artemis program will be officially kicked off with a new mission to the Moon. For this mission, NASA is planning to send two astronauts to the lunar surface.
According to NASA, the success of the upcoming Moon mission will dictate the status of the next planned expedition of the Artemis program, which is a crewed spaceflight to Mars. As part of the mission, NASA noted that it intends to study the Martian environment in order to determine if it would be possible for humans to establish a settlement on the Red Planet.