Archive for the ‘Man on Mars’ Category
For decades we have been searching for traces of life on Mars. Why? Probably out of curiosity, scientists know that the universe is so large that it is quite impossible that we are the only ones living in it. Considering our choices and the vastness of the universe or even our solar system, Mars is the only planet that we can easily reach and observe.
Before we were able to take a single picture of Mars, many of us already believe that little green men lived in Mars. Many movies showed Martians as such, they were highly advanced in terms of technology and quite friendly in nature. But all these beliefs were wiped out when Mariner 4 took a picture of Mars and it showed dry sandy surfaces with lots of craters just like the moon.
Hopes were down but the government decided to give it one more shot by sending the Vikings to further study the planet. The Viking took 16,000 images of Mars and atmospheric studies that suggests water in Ancient Mars.
From then on, the quest for life on Mars became the quest for liquid water on Mars. Since there seemed to be life wherever there is water, scientists believe that if we can only find minute traces of water in Mars in will not be surprising if we find life. Now, life doesn’t have to be multi-cellular organisms, a single celled organism is enough to prove that life exists or existed on Mars and it would also be enough to prove that we are not alone in the universe.
Since then different missions have been successfully feeding us data about Mars. Currently, the Phoenix Mars Lander discovered water ice on Martian soil, these bits and pieces of information is getting us closer to our goal of finding liquid water on Mars and eventually life.
Here is great 5 part video that discusses our quest for life or water on Mars
The Phoenix Mars lander is an ongoing success. It is creating its own Mars phoenix pics collection of some sort and is greatly contributing to science. I tried to collect some of the latest Mars pics direct from phoenix on board camera.
Mars phoenix pics collection.
Taken on sol 95 (Day 95) after Phoenix landed on the surface of Mars. This trench is called the “Stone Soup”. It is the deepest trench the Phoenix ever dug, about 7 inches deep. Scientists are very excited to analyze the composition of the soil at that depth.
Another picture of the “stone soup” trench where the depth is clearly seen.
As the Phoenix lander digs, it creates piles out of the dig. This one is called “caterpillar” which is a pile made from the “stone soup” dig. Piles like this also helps scientists identify the composition of the Martian soil. How the pile slopes and the texture of the soil provides information to the scientists. This pile though, does not seem to contain water ice.
A view of the Phoenix’s work place. Shows some of the trenches that Phoenix dug around his workplace. This picture was taken on Sol 90.
A Martian sunrise, taken during Sol 90. The sun doesn’t fully set during the Martian summer. The skylight shown above is a combination of atmospheric dust particles and ice crystals.
Taken during Sol 79. This picture shows a thin layer of ice on the surface of Mars, this picture was taken during sunrise and the ice disappeared after 6am.
This picture was taken on Sol 17. This was a very exciting moment since this was the very first time that Phoenix delivered soil samples to its MECA (Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer) instrument.
A 3D image of a Martian particle. Red is the highest point and purple is the lowest point. 3D images help scientists understand the dust particles that gives Mars its red appearance. The Phoenix Mars lander is the most successful Mars explorer to date. We are getting so close to knowing whether Mars contained an enormous amount of water before and if it is capable of sustaining life. Who knows, maybe Mars was once like Earth before. That’s all for now. Watch out for some more mars phoenix pics collection.
The idea of humans visiting Mars or even living in Mars has long been fantasized by many. And since we are very good in ruining and exploiting our environment, Mars is becoming some sort of an escape route when the Earth finally says “Enough is Enough” and gets back at us. Which, I think will be happening anytime soon if we don’t change our acts.
On April 28, 2008, Dr. Dennis Bushnell, Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, was interviewed at The Space Show. The topic was about Man on Mars and he actually said that “It’s not a question of IF humans will go to Mars but a question of WHEN“. He pointed out some major problems that will be facing humans in mars:
- Micro Gravity which affects the immune system and alters bone growth.
- Galactic Space Radiation which will affect both humans and the equipments.
- Systems Reliability which is very critical since a Mars missions will take years.
- Mars Dust contains hexavalent chromium which is toxic.
He also pointed out funding problems since sending a human to Mars will take a lot of money and generating those funds could be a problem. We would have to think of a fundamental reason to convince the private sector to spend some money on the mission otherwise the public will be the one to shoulder all the costs. Dr. Bushnell stated that currently “What is safe is not affordable and what is affordable is not safe”.
He also said that the technology needed to safely send a human to Mars would take 10-15 years of research and another 10-15 years of development. So we’re looking at 30-35 years before a manned mission can set forth.
An alternative that they are closely looking into is sending nano bots instead of humans, he stated that sending nano bots to mars are less expensive and they are more reliable in sending large amounts of information.
He also talked about virtual reality. In the near future, with the advancement of technology, people will be able to virtually go to Mars and even pick up rocks and investigate them without all the dangers.
His solution. Send robots first and terraform the planet beform humans go.