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 +** i'm in the 12th grade and the question is to research the environmental
 +conditions on each of the planets in the solar system other than earth.
 + and to evaluate each planet as a potential place for human colonization
 + and to identify what challenges would be faced, and how they could be
 + met?**
 +You've asked for much more information than I could type in a reasonable
 +amount of time, so I hope you don't mind if I point you toward a good
 +resource and give you some ideas to think about. The web site I am
 +thinking of is a guide to the solar system by Students for the Exploration
 +and Development of Space. Their web site is:
 +This page has links to most objects in the solar system, and contains a
 +lot of information about each one.
 +Here are some ideas to think about when reading each page and considering
 +how humans could live there:
 +1) Air and Water - people need oxygen to breathe and water to drink and
 +grow food. Taking water and oxygen from the Earth is very expensive and
 +very difficult, so it would be easiest to colonize places where sources of
 +water and /or oxygen are easy to find. (Note that if there is lots of
 +water, oxygen can be made from the water. Also, if there is carbon
 +dioxide, oxygen can be made.)
 +2) Food - people will need to grow their own food on another planet -
 +transportation to and from Earth is, again, too expensive. Plants need
 +carbon dioxide and sunlight (real sunlight is best; artificial lighting
 +will work, too.)
 +3) Energy - human settlements will need to create their own energy. Close
 +to the sun (say, within the asteroid belt), solar power is useable.
 +Outside of the asteroid belt, nuclear power would most likely have to be
 +used. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of power.
 +4) Radiation - radiation is harmful for people, plants and animals. On
 +Earth, we are protected by a magnetic field and an atmosphere. Some
 +planets and moons have neither; some have only one or the other. Very few
 +have both. Some planets have very strong magnetic fields that create even
 +more radiation. Settlements will have to be protected to some degree.
 +5) Gravity - planets or moons with a lesser gravitational pull than the
 +Earth will result in astronauts having smaller bone and muscle mass, a
 +serious problem if they are to come back to Earth. The closer a planet's
 +gravity is to Earth, the less of a problem this is.
 +6) Atmosphere - Some planets have no atmosphere. Some have atmospheres
 +that will crush people. Generally, it's easier to deal with low-pressure
 +rather than high-pressure, but both are dangerous if there is an air leak.
 +7) Distance - the further a planet is from Earth, the harder it is to get
 +to and to talk to!
 +8) Temperature - Is the planet/moon too hot, too cold, or just right? The
 +hotter or colder a planet is, the more energy it will take to change the
 +9) Miscellaneous - Some moons have active volcanoes that cover the entire
 +moon with boiling lava regularly. Some planets have no ground. And there
 +is psychology - how will people deal with living isolated on an alien rock
 +for long periods of time? Etc.
 +There is a lot to think about, so you may want to focus in on certain of
 +the above topics. All in all, Mars is probably the best choice for
 +long-term human settlement. It may even be possible to change Mars'
 +atmosphere to resemble the Earth! The moon is the most logical first
 +step, because it is very close. Venus might seem like a good choice, but
 +it is really a very bad choice. It is very hot, has a crushing
 +atmosphere, and may be covered with molton lead.
 +There is another web site you might find useful:
 +This is a NASA web page that talks about exploring Mars and other planets.
 +Good luck, and thanks for writing!
 +Kurtis Williams
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