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Can You Survive on Mars?
by Staff
If you find yourself stranded on Mars, what would it take to survive? Take this quiz to find out how long you could make it on the Red Planet.

About how many calories per day would a Mars colonist need to eat to stay active and healthy?

  • 800
  • 3,000
  • 6,000

Humans breathe easily in Earth's atmosphere thanks to the 21 percent oxygen level. What percentage of Mars' atmosphere is oxygen?

  • less than 1 percent
  • 12 percent
  • 65 percent

When Martian soil is kicked up by a windstorm, it obscures vision and damages equipment. What other danger does it carry?

  • Its corrosive properties destroy rubber seals on airlocks and space suits.
  • It carries bacteria that human immune systems have no defense against.
  • It irritates the lungs and may contain toxic compounds.

What is the average temperature on Mars?

  • minus 400 degrees Celsius (minus 688 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • minus 63 degrees Celsius
  • 20 degrees Celsius

One potential danger on Mars is the solar system's largest what?

  • impact crater
  • liquid methane ocean
  • volcano

Calculating how long you can survive while you're on Mars could be tricky because the Martian year is …

  • about a third as long as an Earth year
  • about twice as long as an Earth year
  • 15 times as long as an Earth year

Is the soil on Mars fertile enough to grow crops?

  • yes
  • no

Plants grown in a Martian habitat could cause problems because they emit so much oxygen. Why would that be a problem?

  • High oxygen levels create a serious fire risk.
  • Breathing high concentrations of oxygen can lead to health problems and, eventually, oxygen toxicity.
  • both

Experience with the International Space Station has shown that an unexpected major expense of long-term life on Mars will be ...

  • shipping replacement parts to repair failed and damaged equipment
  • sending settlers back to Earth when they suffer mental breakdowns
  • building a giant shield to deflect meteorites

What do you need to do to Martian soil before you can grow plants in it?

  • infuse it with oxygen to activate the nutrients
  • wash it in water to remove the perchlorates
  • irradiate it to destroy Martian pathogens

Could you live on nothing but potatoes on Mars?

  • yes, but only for a few months
  • no
  • Yes, you can survive on nothing but potatoes forever.

Can humans live on a spacecraft long enough to reach Mars without developing health or mental problems?

  • yes
  • no

How much land would you need to cultivate on Mars to grow enough food for one person?

  • 200 square meters (2,153 square feet)
  • 2,000 square meters
  • 8,000 square meters

What makes up most of Mars' atmosphere?

  • methane
  • nitrogen
  • carbon dioxide

Settlers on Mars would be exposed to radiation because Mars lacks a …

  • planetary ring
  • liquid ocean
  • strong magnetic field

If you have a medical emergency on Mars, how long will it take to get advice from a doctor on Earth via radio?

  • from eight to 45 minutes
  • from two to six hours
  • from 12 hours to a day

What crucial resource could settlers already find on Mars?

  • water
  • steel
  • food

On its 180-day trip to Mars, the Curiosity rover was exposed to how much radiation?

  • the equivalent of two CT scans
  • 15 times the annual limit for a nuclear plant worker
  • the equivalent of standing 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the Hiroshima, Japan, atomic bomb explosion

A Mars colony near one of the poles could have access to large amounts of frozen subsurface water, but the settlers will face a serious problem. What is it?

  • The water is contaminated and will need to be treated.
  • There will be no sunlight for several months, forcing settlers to rely on a nuclear generator instead of solar power.
  • There are no safe landing sites near the poles.

Even if the atmosphere on Mars had oxygen, you couldn’t survive in it without a space suit because the pressure is so low. What is the atmospheric pressure on Mars?

  • 0.6 percent of Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level
  • 5 percent of Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level
  • 22 percent of Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level