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Missions To Mars
When people look at the advancement of the sciences and technology, one can only admit that by standing on the shoulders of giants human civilization has learned so much about its environment. To be able to pierce the dark curtain of space is a powerful reality that shows how much risk humans are willing to take to see what makes everything around us work.
It's also true that exploration is a result of human nature’s curiosity of the world around it. For decades this has been true, as human culture has left behind a history of achieving great things, one of them being the sights it has set for the planet Mars.
The First Mission To Mars
In November of 1964, under President Lyndon Johnson, a very ambitious project was launched into space called Mariner 4, which would conduct the first flyby of the red planet by July in the following year.
The data collected of the Mars surface was the first ever collected on Earth, which for today’s standards is quite surprising as the data was only 634 kB in size. Nonetheless the images of the surface helped give scientists and the imagination of many people something to aid their research of a distant, never before discovered planet.
The Mariner would not last as it became damaged by micrometeors and would eventually lose power.
It would have to be another three decades before explorers became fascinated enough by the data to come back and explore Mars again. The field of study was not very well funded and many programs were cancelled leaving explorers with nothing more than dreams to hold onto. Studying the images they had collected from the first missions while other nations threatened attempts to reach the planet without the involvement of the United States.
This was just as well because it was also very clear that the technology to reach the planet and study it further was limited and too risky to attempt. It would be a matter of time before the urge for exploration would begin to peak and create endless possibilities.
If thirty years was all the time explorers and scientists needed to build up momentum and curiosity for Mars, it was more than enough. In 2001, NASA returned with the Mars Odyssey orbiter, which provided more than just low quality black and white photos. These were larger and more detailed images of the surface for:
- Geological Studies
- Evidence Of Water
- Planning Future Surface Landing
Almost as soon as this first orbiter since 1964 had been launched, more projects were being scheduled, each one more challenging than the one before. Since the beginning of the twenty first century, several orbiters and rovers have been sent to and even on the Martian surface, stunning the world with never before seen footage of an alien world and more are being planned and scheduled at an alarming rate.
Mars Is The Future
Already fourteen years since explorers have been studying Mars, they have also been very active in making their dreams to colonize Mars the next step. A private company referred to as Mars One is already planning to send people to the surface as pioneers to begin terra-forming, in a one-way mission. There has been much skepticism about those plans however, as the months pass more aerospace companies and engineers have begun to join the program to make that dream into a reality by 2023.