Exploration of Mars: From Wikipedia
The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s.
These missions were aimed at gathering data about current conditions and answering questions about the history of Mars as well as a preparation for a possible human mission to Mars. The questions raised by the scientific community are expected to not only give a better appreciation of the red planet but also yield further insight into the past, and possible future, of Earth.
The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even begin. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul which subsists on a diet of Mars probes, this phenomenon is also informally known as the Mars Curse.
As of January 2011, there is one functioning piece of equipment on the surface of Mars beaming signals back to Earth: the Opportunity rover. In October 2009, an agreement was signed between United States’ space agency, NASA, and Europe’s space agency, ESA in order to increase cooperation and expand collective capabilities, resources and expertise to continue the exploration of Mars; this agreement is named the Mars Exploration Joint Initiative (MEJI).
The high failure rate of missions launched from Earth attempting to explore Mars has become informally known as the “Mars Curse”. The “Galactic Ghoul” is a fictional space monster that consumes Mars probes, a term coined in 1997 by Time Magazine journalist Donald Neff.
Of 38 launches from Earth in an attempt to reach the planet, only 19 succeeded, a success rate of 50%. Twelve of the missions included attempts to land on the surface, but only seven transmitted data after landing.The majority of the failed missions occurred in the early years of space exploration and were part of the Soviet and later Russian Mars probe program that suffered several technical difficulties, other than the largely successful Venera program for the exploration of Venus.Modern missions have an improved success rate; however, the challenge, complexity and length of the missions make it inevitable that failures will occur.
The U.S. NASA Mars exploration program has had a somewhat better record of success in Mars exploration, achieving success in 13 out of 20 missions launched (a 65% success rate), and succeeding in six out of seven (an 86% success rate) of the launches of Mars landers.Manned mission to Mars:A manned mission to Mars has been the subject of science fiction, engineering, and scientific proposals throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century.
The plans comprise proposals not only to land on, but eventually also settle the planet Mars, its moons, Phobos & Deimos and terraform the planet. Preliminary work for missions has been undertaken since the 1950s, with planned missions typically taking place 10 to 30 years in the future.
The list of manned Mars mission plans in the 20th century shows the various mission proposals that have been put forth by multiple organizations and space agencies in this field of space exploration.In 2004 the U.S. administration announced a new Vision for Space Exploration naming a manned Mars mission as one of its milestones. No concrete plan has been decided upon, and the proposal is currently being discussed between politicians, scientists, space advocates and in the public. In 2010, a new bill was signed allowing for a manned Mars mission by the 2030s.
There are several key challenges that a human mission to Mars must overcome:
1. physical effects of exposure to high-energy cosmic rays and other ionizing radiation
2. physical effects of a prolonged low-gravity environment
3. physical effects of a prolonged low-light environment
4. psychological effects of isolation from Earth
5. psychological effects of lack of community due to lack of real-time connections with Earth
6. social effects of several humans living under crowded conditions for over one Earth year
7. inaccessibility of terrestrial medical facilities
Some of these issues were estimated statistically in the HUMEX study. Ehlmann and others have reviewed political and economic concerns, as well as technological and biological feasibility aspects.While fuel for roundtrip travel could be a challenge, methane and oxygen can be produced utilizing Martian H2O (preferably as water ice instead of chemically bound water) and atmospheric CO2 with mature technology.
One of the main considerations for traveling to Mars from Earth or vice versa is the energy needed to transfer between their orbits. Every 26 Earth months a lower energy transfer from Earth to Mars opens, so missions are typically planned to coincide with one of these windows. In addition, the low-energy windows varies higher or lower on roughly a 15 year cycle. For example, there was a minimum in the 1969 and 1971 launch windows, rising to a peak in the late 70s, and hitting another low in 1986 and 1988, and then repeating on the same interval.
Mars to Stay is the proposal that astronauts sent to Mars for the first time should stay there indefinitely, both to reduce mission cost and to ensure permanent settlement of Mars. Among many other notable Mars to Stay advocates, former Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin has been particularly outspoken, suggesting in numerous forums “Forget the Moon, Let’s Head to Mars!” The Mars Underground, Mars Homestead Foundation, and Mars Artists Community have also adopted Mars to Stay policy initiatives.
The earliest formal outline of a Mars to Stay mission architecture was given at the Case for Mars VI Workshop in 1990, during a presentation by George Herbert titled “One Way to Mars.”
Under a Mars to Stay mission architecture the first humans to travel to Mars would be composed of a six-person team. After this initial landing subsequent missions over five years will raise the number of persons on the Martian surface to 30, thereby beginning an organically evolving Martian settlement.
Since the Martian surface offers all the natural resources and elements necessary to sustain human society—unlike, for example the moon—a permanent Martian settlement is thought to be the most effective way to ensure humankind becomes a space-faring, multi-planet species. Through the use of digital fabricators and in vitro fertilization it is assumed a permanent human settlement on Mars can grow organically from an original thirty to forty pioneers.
A Mars exploration program following Aldrin’s Mars to Stay initiative would enlist astronauts in the following timeline:
* Age 30: an offer to help settle Mars is extended to select pioneers
* Age 30-35: training and social conditioning for long-duration isolation and time-delay communications
* Age 35: launch three married couples to Mars; followed in subsequent years by a dozen or more couples
* Age 35-65: development of sheltered underground living spaces; artificial insemination ensures genetic diversity
* Age 65: an offer to return to Earth or retire on Mars is given to first generation settler’s Aldrin has said, “…who knows what advances will have taken place. The first generation can retire there, or maybe we can bring them back.”
Video provided by maasdigital
Nice work gentlemen great animation