Humans are getting closer to making their journey to Mars. Their goal is to see if there has ever been an environment on the red planet capable of supporting life, then send expeditions there for several months in order to discover more about what life could look like on it.
Hope, China’s Tianwen-1 mission and NASA’s Perseverance rover all arrived at Mars early February 2021 for exploration, landing respectively at Jezero crater to search for evidence of life.
On this date 50 years ago, NASA’s Mariner 9 beat out Soviet Mars 2 into orbit around Mars and began transmitting back a wealth of data gathered during its journey around. Pictures taken by Mariner 9 revealed a vast network of canyons dwarfing Grand Canyon; evidence of volcanic activity; and evidence that water once flowed on its surface.
Mariner 9 was an extraordinary success, yet not without some setbacks. Just before its “window” to observe Martian atmosphere opened up, an unexpected global dust storm obscured features on Mars – forcing engineers to reprogram Mariner 9 so it would delay photographic survey until the dust had settled again. Mariner eventually covered more than 85 percent of surface area and both moons (Phobos and Deimos), before running out of attitude control gas on October 27, 1972 and going into stable orbit that will decay over 50 years.
Phoenixes have long been seen as symbols of hope and renewal. Even in times of greatest darkness, their mythical bird can transform and rise from its own ashes – just like Christ rising from his grave. Their symbolic power serves as a powerful reminder that life can change quickly.
The mythological Phoenix bird symbolizes immortality, rebirth and renewal within Arabian, Indian, Chinese, Persian and Phoenician/Canaanite cultures.
The Phoenix is the symbol of renewal, transformation and self-sacrifice. If this spirit animal appears in your life, it could be a signal that it’s time to let go of what no longer serves you and embrace new beginnings. Additionally, its association with love, faithfulness and peace makes this bird especially significant.
ExoMars is a joint exploration project between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, that will conduct two missions to explore whether life ever existed on Mars, as well as where and when.
Launched in 2016, this first mission consisted of an orbiter and lander named Schiaparelli that were intended to softly land on Mars; unfortunately they both crashed instead.
TGO will use orbit to search for methane and other trace gases in the Martian atmosphere, while studying its climate and geology. Rosalind Franklin will carry Pasteur to detect organic molecules on Mars’ surface.
Tianwen-1’s 13 scientific payloads — such as its orbiter, lander and rover — will investigate Mars morphology and topography, search for subsurface water ice deposits and examine surface materials and composition. It will also feature an unnamed rover equipped with ground-penetrating radar similar to Perseverance for mapping underground structures that orbital radar cannot detect.
The spacecraft will enter a polar orbit that will enable it to study Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere as well as act as an orbital communications relay for its rover – sending data back home while also receiving instructions from scientists.
China plans for their spacecraft to land at Utopia Planitia, an ancient impact basin considered safe and scientifically interesting as a landing site, in February 2021, marking China’s inaugural independent interplanetary mission.