Thursday, October 11, 2012

31 Days of Planets: Mars

Day 8: Mars, the Red Planet

Mars is an intriguing planet to us here on Earth. When Giovanni Shiaparelli was first trying to make a map of Mars in the late 1800s, he saw through his telescope lines on surface of the planet which he called canali. He thought they were ditches dug for water. This caused people to believe that there were aliens on Mars. This, however, has not yet proven to be true, but culture still clings to the hope that life may exist outside of our solar system - or quite frankly inside it, but not in a necessarily recognizable form.

Mars is an intriguing planet, as I said, largely because we've got robots up there! The most recent rover, the Curiosity, is the size of an SUV, and the pictures she is sending back are incredible. A robot laboratory on wheels, Curiosity landed in August 2012, and is working to discover if life ever existed on Mars.

Mars is one of the most studied planets with several rovers such as Spirit and Opportunity roving about its surface. Hundreds of pictures have been beamed back - everything to the falling of a rover through the air, close-ups of the planet from space, and images of the mountains and desert from the ground. Mars has piqued the interest of humans for centuries.

In addition, there is recent talk of inhabiting Mars. From Elon Musk's statement to colonize it, to the Mars-One program which intends to make a TV show out of it, colonizing Mars seems to be the next giant idea. We just have to get the general population on board - and then just do it.

In conclusion, Mars is intriguing - let's get up there. It's only a 9 month trip! Our ancestors did way more than that when they colonized the US. I think it would be an amazing adventure.

Pictures from NASA.

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