Life on Mars: How Would Humans Survive?

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Inspirational works of Sci-fi have allowed our minds to run wild about what life would be like out in deep space or, closer to home, on Mars. However, as breakthroughs are made towards the goal of colonising Mars, it’s important to decipher between what’s science and what’s fiction.

When Matt Damon in The Martian became stranded on Mars he farmed potatoes (*Spoiler Alert*) through fertilising soil with human waste, but would it really be that easy to produce food? Today, ambitious scientists and entrepreneurs are preparing for the future of life on Mars – SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced earlier this year that he wants to colonise Mars as early as 2025 and other organisations such as Mars One and Virgin Galactic are also keen to get humans to Mars. But what will Mars really be like? We’ve done our research and looked at all the facts about the red planet and how we would be able to survive and live on Mars.

Mars is a very different planet compared to Earth, with a year being almost twice as long, as our red neighbour takes longer to orbit the Sun. Humans there would also experience 62.

5% less gravity than we’re used to, meaning they could jump nearly three times higher on Mars compared with Earth. Despite most of Mars being made up from red rock desert, the planet is a lot colder, with average temperatures of -63 °C. Brr! These conditions mean that simply arriving on Mars and starting a new life will not be easy, complex environment-changing steps would need to be taken for basic human survival.

We’ve taken a look at the steps mankind needs to take in order to be able to live on Mars and unearthed (pun intended) what researchers and companies have planned to work on in coming years to solve the problems we will face. Our posters below imagine how would we get to Mars, and create the four basic needs for survival, Oxygen, Water, Warmth, and Food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Incredible Natural Phenomena and Where to Find Them

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Our planet is bursting with amazing natural beauty, from stunning white sand beaches to the spectacular mountains. So, it’s no doubt that the earth is a wonderful place. But some things are like no other and can truly take our breath away, we call these phenomena. And it might be hard to believe that these marvels actually exist!

At the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela, a lightning storm lasts up to 10 hours per night offering an electrifying light show for any onlookers. If you’ve ever dreamt of wandering through the clouds, you should book your next trip to the Bolivia where the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni create a mesmerising reflection of the sky.

At The Solar Centre, we’ve listed the most incredible natural phenomena and where in the world you can find them. So, if you fancy a mind-blowing experience, add these destinations to your bucket list!

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Record Breaking Weather Extremes

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The weather is something that us Brits can’t help but talk about, the unpredictability and changeableness has triggered many conversations about the sun, wind and rain and how it’s either too hot or cold to go outside! We do love to grumble about British weather but what about extreme weather conditions? Many countries from across the globe have encountered intense weather conditions caused by the climate and natural disasters.

Here at The Solar Centre we’ve created an infographic that looks at the hottest corners of the earth, the biggest storms to hit countries and even the highest waves in our oceans. Not only are these weather conditions extreme to say the least, but they’ve all broken world records!

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The World’s Most Beautiful Gardens

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Gardens are a beautiful thing to behold. There’s nothing quite like being at one with the great outdoors, and a botanical garden can offer a taste of the natural world combined with history, culture, and beautiful architecture.

There are hundreds of incredible botanical gardens around the world. From the beautifully cultivated gardens of the Chateau of Versailles, to the 1350 varieties of cactus in the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona, to the “Alice In Wonderland”-style bright colours of Dubai Miracle Garden, each garden has its own unique character and vibe.

At The Solar Centre, we have put together a collection of our favourite botanical gardens across the globe. So make sure to check these out if you’re ever in the area!

the world's most beautiful gardens

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Ingenious Ways To Save On Your Household Bills

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Most of us are constantly trying to save money where we can, whether it’s skipping that takeaway coffee in the morning or limiting how many items of clothing you’ll buy in a month. While we may have to make a conscious effort in order to save those extra few pennies, there are ways that you can save on your household bills and you’ll be surprised to see how your savings can build up over time.

Our latest infographic tells you everything you need to know about how to save on your household bills, whether that’s fixing your dripping taps to save water or investing in solar panels. As well saving money where you can, most of these tips will also help the environment, so it’s a win-win situation! Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about how you could end up saving money with minimal effort.

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14 Green Living Myths

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In recent times, it’s become common knowledge that we all need to do our bit to be more environmentally friendly. While many people now go to extremes in order to reduce their carbon footprint, such as spending thousands on solar panels, there are other ways in which you can become more ‘green’ with far less expense. However, as much as it’s great to do whatever you can to help the environment, it seems that there are a few myths around what can actually be beneficial to helping our planet Earth.

Our latest infographic explores these green living myths so that you know exactly what to do to become more environmentally friendly, instead of wasting your time and efforts. For example, while turning off appliances when they’re not in use is always a good idea, for financial reasons as well as environmental reasons, you also need to make sure they’re turned off at the socket, as they’ll still continue to use power even when they’re switched off. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about these green living myths and how you could maximise your efforts to become more ‘green’.

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Worlds from Fiction

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Books, films and comics have all brought different imaginary worlds to our attention. Whether you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan or your interests lie within the world of Narnia, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to immerse yourself in a different world. While some imaginative places may be alongside Earth, such as Neverland which can be reached in the sky, some worlds are entirely dystopian, for example, Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings.

Our latest infographic gives you an insight into these different worlds, along with where they’re from and who thought them up. We’ve also included some interesting facts about them such as the Hundred Acre Wood being inspired by the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Sussex, and that Asgard is based on the realm of the same name from Norse religion. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about the fictional worlds you know, and to discover any that you didn’t know before.fictional-worlds

 

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What Would Happen if the Sun Disappeared?

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Even if you don’t know much about science, and outer space in particular, most of us know that that great big yellow thing in the sky is quite important for our existence. The majority of us will realise that without the Sun, things down here on Earth would be pretty cold and dark. However, we were curious to see what else might happen if our giant source of heat and light were to suddenly vanish from the sky.

Our latest infographic explores everything that would happen should the sun disappear, along with a timescale of how long it would take for these things to happen. For example, within eight minutes all the planets would start to travel in a straight line through space because there would no longer be a gravitational pull from the Sun and the surfaces of the oceans would freeze over within a couple of months. Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about what would happen to us and our planet if the Sun were to disappear.if-the-sun-disappeared

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How Do Solar Panels Work?

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In recent years, the popularity of solar panels has spiked with the increasing awareness of the need to move away from fossil fuels. Solar panels have been around for decades, having first been used in the 1960’s by space pioneers. Despite being around for so long, many people do not understand the science behind solar panels, and more importantly, how they are able to generate electricity from the Sun. In nature, the Sun provides energy to the Earth and most of the life that lives on it. Solar panels were invented to capture this energy and then convert it into usable energy which can then be used to power appliances in day-to-day life. The process is not as complicated as you may imagine, with it mainly to do with the flow of electrons triggered by the energy of the sun. Have a look for yourself and answer one of life’s great mysteries; how do solar panels work? Get those GCSE Chemistry books ready for reference!

how do solar panels work

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Cost Effective Ways to Make the Most of Your Garden This Summer

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We are now well into the summer months, not that you would be able to tell here in the UK, and with warmer weather hopefully reaching us soon we are all going to want to be heading out into the great outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, warm sunshine and the serenity of our own back gardens.

Looking after your garden during summer can be an expensive task – there are plants to water, lawns to upkeep and of course plenty of nuisance insects and bugs buzzing around. In order to help save you time and money, we have compiled a list of useful tips suggesting ways in which you can make the most of your garden this summer

1. Avoid your hose pipe but still water everything

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For every ten minutes that the average hosepipe is turned on approximately 170 litres of water is used. That figure equates to almost 19 flushes of a toilet in the same amount of time. In just one hour, a hosepipe turned out will use the same amount of water a whole family is estimated to use in two days. This all adds up and if you plan to keep your garden hydrated throughout the summer with your hosepipe, you will be met with a hefty water bill! However, that does not mean that you can’t water your plants and flowers, but instead that you should use water sparingly and look for other ways of supplying your garden’s demand for water.

  • Both your lawn and plants are better off when you water them with a watering can – the end of the can produces smaller droplets which sink into the ground more easily.
  • Invest in, or make, your own water butt which you can use to collect rainwater in your garden.
  • Reuse cooking water, bath water or even fish tank water rather than tipping it down the sink or letting it drain down the plughole. The water is full of nutrients and helps to fertilise your plants.
  • To keep in the moisture in and the sun off the soil you should also add a layer of mulch– this can be a layer of tree bark, compost of coconut husks or even ground up corks!

2. Use a compost system

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Another way to keep your plants looking healthy and to save water in your garden is to keep them fertilised in nutrient-rich soil. Whilst you can buy compost from plenty of stores, it is far more cost effective to make your own compost. You don’t even have to buy a compost bin – purely convert an old dustbin by drilling some holes in the side and base and cover with the lid. Once it is set up you can start collecting food waste from the kitchen or garden.

  • To get the most out of your homemade compost and to cut your soil costs in half, you should consider mixing it together with soil. You could also add in extra discards such as coffee grounds.

3. Evening lighting

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Outdoor lighting helps to add a lot of character to your garden, whatever size it may be, and also means that you can sit outside for longer during the warmer evenings. There is a huge selection of garden lights, from battery powered lights to more cost effective and environmentally friendly solar powered lights. With everything from spotlights to lanterns and rope lights, there is something to suit everyone and many can be staked into the ground (great and easy for those who don’t like DIY).

  • To brighten up your garden, you could consider draping overhead spaces with fairy lights, lining your borders with rope lighting, or emphasising particular features of your garden with spotlights. Alternatively, you could also use tea lights inside of old jars.

4. Insect repellent techniques

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Nothing spoils a summer evening more than being bitten by a variety of nasty insects. Rather than covering yourself in a whole host of chemicals, there are plenty of natural and cost effective ways to keep bugs at bay.

  • Mosquitoes in particular do not like the smell of several herbs including lemongrass, rosemary, marigold and mint – so by planting a combination of these in your garden will help to repel mosquitoes.
  • If someone happens to be allergic to bee, wasp or hornet stings, you need an effective way of dealing with them without using chemicals. Fill an old plastic milk bottle with sweet sugar water and cut a small slit into its side – the insects will then not be able to escape but can be released once it is safe.

5. Grow your own

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Most people will find the thought of growing their own vegetables overwhelming but growing your own is in fact far simpler and less time consuming than you would think. Plus, for anybody who thinks a vegetable patch requires lots of space – think again. You really only need a few feet of land, or a few large pots, a source of water and a bit of time. Not only will this save you money on your grocery shop but you will also feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you can pick you own fresh fruit and veg straight from your garden.

  • If you are a ‘grow your own’ novice, lettuce is an easy vegetable to start with and can even be grown in a window box if you are short on garden space. For those with a bit more experience or confidence, you could consider growing tomato plants, which need a fair bit of nurturing in their first few months, chard, or perhaps if you have a little more space, courgettes.

6. Choose perennials over annuals

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Adding colour to your garden can easily be done by planting up your borders. Many people chose to change the plants in their borders each and every season but the secret to a cost effective garden is to choose flowers that will come up every year. A perennial flower garden will result in an eventual low cost and upkeep back garden!

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