If one was to use Hollywood movies as a precursor of the future, one would have thought that it was only a matter of time until Earth was visited by Martian invaders.
In real life, however, it may actually be Mars that will see an invasion of Earthlings soon, not the other way around.
A new space race could be under way, as several countries are scheduling satellite and rover launches to Mars this summer.
These include the United States, China, and the United Arab Emirates. The launches will be coming later this month, as the season approaches where Mars is closer to Earth than at any other point in its orbit. This “launch window” closes on August 15.
As reported by Business Insider:
“The robots are expected to make the first global map of the Mars climate, drill into the planet’s surface, and search for signs of long-dead microbes that may have once thrived in Martian valleys and riverbeds. These missions could find the first footprints of life on another planet.”
The USA’s mission, led by NASA, will focus on drilling into the planet’s surface to collect samples via the rover, named “Perseverance.”
“If all goes well, the rover will land on February 18, 2021 in Mars’ Jezero crater — an ancient riverbed that could harbor signs of past microbial life. The mission, which will cost a total $3 billion start-to-finish, will drill into the Martian surface to collect samples of rock and soil, then stash them at a collection point for a future mission to bring back to Earth.
“Perseverance itself will carry a suite of cutting-edge tools: a new navigation system to make landing on the red planet less risky, a machine designed to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide, and instruments to collect data that could help scientists better predict Martian weather.”
Once the rover lands, it is designed to deploy a “small helicopter” from its underside that has been called “Ingenuity.” If successful, Ingenuity will pull off the first powered flight on another planet.
With these developments, human visits to Mars may not be as far off as previously thought.
As momentum builds with the efforts by both NASA and Space X, those skeptical of the practicality of landing on Mars may soon find that “resistance is futile.”
To read the Business Insider article, click here.