Exploration of Mars Essay:
The planet Mars, named after the ancient Roman God of War, has always been at the burning point of human speculation and fear about life in space. Mars gained its reputation of a mysterious and highly attractive planet in the scientific terms from the time the first telescope powerful enough to recognize its polar ice caps was created. The first close-up picture of this puzzling planet was taken in 1965 and after that several missions were conducted to explore the planet. (NASA) However, it seems that every time humans seem to be close to understanding Mars, new findings send then back to the starting point and make them revise the existing theories.
I would like to devote my short paper to the brief description of Mars exploration as well as stating couple of the Mars missions that are to come. To begin with, I would like to give some background information. The spaceship exploration of Mars was started on July 15th, 1964 by Mariner 4. The launching took a lot of effort and the previous frequent launchings of spaceships before by USSR and the USA had failed. (Exploring the Planets, Mars)
What the scientists have found out about the forth planet from the Sun is that it is very cold, very dusty and has a very thin gas atmosphere. The atmosphere of the red planet is quite different from that of Earth, because it is composed primarily of carbon dioxide with small amounts of other gases. But the most important thing that the researchers have learned is that Mars is the best candidate to harbor life, as well as it was revealed that Mars had been once Earthlike. There is a possibility that life may have existed there and might even exist there today. Of course, the scientists did not leave such a potential of this mysterious planet unnoticed. So for more than thirty years now they come up with new technologies to explore the promising elliptical planet and as it can be seen, they have made a vast break through.
Today modern technologies made allow to explore Mars the way it was never possible before and scientists are making a full use of it. Further, I would like to present the programs, the NASA – the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, has developed for the course of the next couple of decades. The potential programs are revolutionary and precise, they are based on the lessons learned in the previous missions as well as recent scientific discoveries. (NASA)
These programs are as follows: Smart Lander and Long-range Rover programs, sample return and Scout missions. NASA is promising to launch its first rover as early as 2009. Launching of this portable science laboratory would give the scientists a closer access to Mars’ surface. NASA also proposes to create a new line of small “Scout” missions whose launch is planned for 2007 already. In the framework of this mission, which might involve “airborne vehicles or small landers” (NASA), new panoramas would be opened for us. And the third program planned to be undertaken in the second decade of the century is the return mission of bringing Martian rocks and soil to Earth. This mission will help us study the actual essence of Mars and will make a great scientific break-through. (Mars exploration program)
It is still unclear whether there was or if there ever will be life on Mars. Still, what is definite is that there is much excitement on the horizon. We should continue to be driven by rigorous scientific questions that constantly evolve as we make new discoveries. We should try to learn more and more about this inexplicable planet. And we never know, but maybe we, or at least our children, will be the next life on Mars.
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