Hidden Nook

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Is Mars 20 Years Away?

[Media Source*]

(MSNBC) People could land on Mars in the next 20 to 30 years provided scientists can find water on the red planet, the head of NASA's surface exploration mission said on Wednesday...

Asked how long it could be before astronauts land on Mars, Arthur Thompson, mission manager for MER surface operations, told Reuters in an interview in Lima, "My best guess is 20 to 30 years, if that becomes our primary priority."

In order for this dream to become a reality, astronomers are going to have to find an abundant supply of water on the red planet, otherwise any attempt to colonize the Martian surface will be in vain and the current road maps to terra forming the planet will probably evaporate. Although some water has been found upon the surface, astronomers are going to need a lot more evidence in order to convince NASA (as well as the public) that colonizing Mars is something better than a "good idea."

(MSNBC) Such a mission would take 11 to 12 months to get to Mars and it would be impossible to carry enough water for the astronauts, plus the water needed to make rocket fuel for the return journey, to cool the spacecraft and to generate energy...

Thompson said scientists had found a canyon on Mars "that makes the Grand Canyon look like a small canyon," where water could still be present. "There are indications that there is actually water that seeps out the side of the canyon, and going down the side it evaporates. We believe it's an ongoing process," he said.

Establishing a colony on Mars, although noble, will not be an easy task. Mars is home so some of the fiercest storms known to terrestrial worlds that would easily put hurricane Katrina (not to mention Andrew) to shame. Although there are other factors that have to be determined before settling on the red planet, (such as whether or not the red soil is toxic) a trek towards Mars will depend primarily upon whether or not there is enough water around to sustain a colony temporarily, if not indefinitely.

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:48 PM • Email Post • •


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