Exploration of Mars
Exploration of Mars
Mars… The God of War, the red planet... It is a celestial body in the Solar system the most similar to Earth. For centuries it has been a mystery to the humankind. Galileo Galilei was the first man who looked at Mars through the spyglass. Other astronomers discovered the channels on Mars, and even big faces. For a long time people considered Mars an inhabited planet like Earth. Some were looking forward to meeting the Martians and some were afraid of a Martian invasion to Earth. Herbert Wells even wrote a novel about it — “The War of the Worlds”.
In XX century, some spaceships were sent to Mars and almost half of them failed but nobody knows why. This phenomenon of misfortune was named ‘the Martian Curse’. For example, the last Russian device ‘Phobos-grunt’ sent to the Mars' moon didn’t even go. It just returned to Earth and fell. Many ships did the same. They didn’t even fly to Mars because of technical problems, or they broke down on their way, or crashed while landing. A very mysterious thing indeed!
Eventually, some man-made devices reached Mars and landed successfully. We got some pictures from the surface and saw it was a wide waterless desert and there were no Martians. What a pity! We have no chance to fight against the Martians invaders.
Nowadays, we have some satellites orbiting Mars and some rovers wandering about its surface. For example, ‘Mars Global Surveyor’ is making a very detailed map of Mars from orbit. Two American rovers ‘Spirit’ and ‘Opportunity’ are walking upon Mars and one more — ‘Ñuriosity’ is hurrying up to help them. We're expecting it will have arrived by August this year (2012). Its task is to find the traces of extraterrestrial life on Mars.
The most outstanding event will be, of course, a human landing on Mars. Some people are already preparing for it. For example, Russian space agency has performed a project ‘500 days’ when people lived in a ship during the imitation of a journey to Mars and back. It was ok. No fights and yet no flights. We are expecting a real manned flight to Mars around the year 2030. The first man who will step upon Mars would be as famous as Gagarin and Armstrong. But the most difficult thing will be returning him back to Earth. Probably, it’ll be a one way ticket...