‘Next, we have to worry about what we will breathe. Frankly, I was really shocked to find out that NASA has this problem worked out.’

Stephan Petranek speaks about surviving on Mars at TED2015.

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Elon Musk says he’ll bring humans to Mars by 2025. But once we arrive, how will we survive? The atmosphere on Mars is 96 percent carbon dioxide and 100 times thinner than Earth’s. The planet only has 38 percent of Earth’s gravity and the average temperature is -81 degrees.

Skeptics wonder how we’ll overcome these obstacles, but according to technology forecaster Stephen Petranek, we have all of this figured out. He even says all of the technology needed to make it possible for humans to inhabit Mars already exists. In his recent TED Talk, Mr. Petranek details exactly how we’ll grow food, warm up the planet and eventually make it a place booming with bars and reality TV just like Earth.

Water

Most of us think of Mars as a desert planet, but the truth is there is plenty of water—we just have to get to it. “There is a lot of water but most of it’s ice and most of it’s underground. It takes a lot of energy to get it and a lot of human labor,” Mr. Petranek says in the talk, adding that the soil alone contains up to 60 percent water and that there are glaciers and craters of ice as well.

To access the water, we can use a device cooked up at the University of Washington described as “basically a low-tech humidifier.” It’s often 100 percent humid on Mars, and this device would allow us to use the humidity to extract ample water.

MOXIE.

How we will get water. (Photo: TED)