How to Make a Trip to the Red Planet of Mars

Since 1610, when scientists first made telescopic observations of Mars through telescopes, scientists have been mapping and studying it. Recently, three missions – China’s Tianwen-1 probe, United Arab Emirates Hope probe and NASA Perseverance rover – have used Mars’ 26 month orbital period to gather new information.

Orbiters have provided more clarity, disproving theories about artificial canals and revealing one of the deepest canyons in our solar system. Furthermore, they have also found evidence of past water sources.

The trip will take about 160 days

Mars may appear red from a distance, but its hues vary considerably more than you might realize. Browns, tans and golds peek through its dusty soil surface while small patches of green indicate where lakes and riverbeds once existed. Mars’ blood-red hue is caused by iron-rich minerals in its soil which oxidize and give off bloody fumes; Romans named their planet after Ares for this reason.

Mars is our solar system’s most-studied object. Though observations date back millennia, modern scientific exploration of Mars began only during the 50s with scientists sending spacecraft to study its surface and orbit. Mariner 4 was the first satellite to pass Mars; sending back pictures showing desert terrain dotting with craters. Mariner 6, 7 and 9 then provided more in-depth images, while orbiters provided unique insights like one of our largest canyons as well as a mountain that rivaled Everest in height.

NASA began sending unmanned landers to Mars in the 1970s. These machines were designed to take close-up pictures and collect samples of air and dirt on Mars; some even came equipped with color cameras so as to record color photos upon landing. Although NASA had much success with these missions, human mission to Mars took longer than planned.

Distance is of primary concern in any journey to Mars; closer they are, less rocket fuel will be required – hence why launching at just the right moment is key; Mars orbits around its star at different rates than our own planet, meaning there may be times where they come close together and other times far apart.

Scientists want to shorten our journey time to Mars even further. They’re creating new propulsion technologies to speed up spacecraft from point A to point B faster, making the trip safer for humans while giving us insight into life on Mars.

It will be comfortable

Comfort is of utmost importance on a trip to Mars. To ensure a pleasurable journey, spacecraft will contain food and supplies as well as radiation shielding jackets to shield passengers against radiations that could otherwise cause health conditions that could worsen over time.

An astronauts journey to Mars will be an unforgettable one, offering stunning landscapes such as mountains and canyons, massive volcanoes and polar ice caps; red-brown soil with its high levels of iron oxide content will also provide breathtaking sights.

An expedition to Mars can be life-altering for astronauts. They’ll learn how to survive in harsh environments while gaining an in-depth knowledge of its history and current condition – giving them insight into why and how things exist as they do today. Finally, traveling there encourages teamwork – when faced with difficulties they’ll need to communicate among themselves in order to remain motivated and focused on their mission.

One of the risks involved with traveling to Mars is the potential risk of fatal accidents. Astronauts will be exposed to various dangerous factors like changes in gravity and solar radiation; therefore they must prepare themselves by going through rigorous training before beginning their voyage.

This book is written by an award-winning science fiction author with both an earned PhD in Geology (Planetary Geology + Geophysics). His ability to combine scientific knowledge and imagination successfully produces an engaging account of Mars that gives readers a real sense of place – in particular his use of “you are there” approach when describing its surface in depth – such as writing that “The surface is cold, the rocky dust crunches underfoot as you walk, while its horizon curves into infinity.”

It will be risky

An expedition to Mars can be an arduous undertaking. Travel will typically take seven to eight months and only about half of missions that attempt to reach it are successful in reaching it. Aside from its perilous journey, there are other risks as well. Crevice falls and drowning hazards on Antarctica can pose severe dangers. Meanwhile, Mars sand contains high concentrations of toxic salts called perchlorates that could pose risks.

An additional challenge facing astronauts on Mars is radiation exposure. Scientists have proposed solutions for protecting astronauts against it; however, spacecraft constructed of thick materials would be too heavy and expensive to launch while spacesuits might prove uncomfortable over prolonged use. Furthermore, radiation can damage cells that produce red blood cells necessary for transporting oxygen and fighting infection – this presents serious threats.

Psychological issues also pose a risk. Crew members isolated together for long periods can become agitated and start fighting among themselves, which could result in disaster. That is why psychologists must carefully screen any prospective crew members for space missions just like they do for military service members.

Robotic rovers have revealed that Mars today is not conducive to life. Its atmosphere consists of 95% carbon dioxide and its temperature stands at -81 degrees Fahrenheit; although water ice exists beneath the surface and in its polar caps, life cannot thrive there without an artificially pressurized habitat.

Scientists have recently discovered evidence that Mars once featured lakes and rivers with liquid water. Curiosity’s exploration of Jezero Crater seems to indicate ancient river deltas and lakes at that site; these discoveries indicate that, at some point in its past, Mars was much more conducive for life than it is currently.

The mission to Mars will take three years. During that time, its crew must endure long periods in microgravity which is extremely taxing on human bodies – leading to bone and muscle loss, vision problems and eye diseases as well as deconditioning of the heart – along with potentially irreparable effects that may cause psychological disorders or lead to irreversible psychological conditions.

It will be expensive

Traveling to Mars will undoubtedly be costly. Travel times could range between eight and 12 months each way; costs could exceed $1 billion including spacecraft expenses such as food and water. That doesn’t even account for ticket costs!

A trip to Mars will also be physically demanding for astronauts, who will need to train regularly in order to adapt to reduced gravity, microgravity and the journey itself. They must remain healthy to ward off disease while adapting to extreme temperatures on Mars – not forgetting their daily work obligations that involve learning a new language and adapting to an altogether unfamiliar environment.

One reason Mars trips are so costly is their inherent high level of risk. On their long voyage there, crew members could starve to death or be exposed to lethal radiation doses; and should something go amiss on Mars itself, Earth-based rescue missions might take years before being possible again.

Space exploration has produced many tangible benefits; we’ve learned so much through its exploration. Thanks to space exploration, we have gained so many new technologies, methods, mathematical formulae and scientific breakthroughs that it has more than paid for itself tenfold; furthermore, explorers themselves have learned valuable lessons about what it takes to thrive in extreme environments.

NASA is planning on taking advantage of an unprecedented alignment between Mars and Earth in 2033 to send humans to Mars, using NASA’s Perseverance rover as their entryway. Other nations have started work on their own missions too; UAE Hope Mars mission, China Tianwen-1 rover and Perseverance Rover being among them.

But under current plans, it will be challenging to balance the cost of NASA’s Mars mission against their $3.2-billion budget for planetary-science division. A recent decadal review recommended limiting Mars sample return to 35% of their overall budget.

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