Mars has always been an object of fascination. It is the planet that we Earthlings feel we are most likely to visit and colonize. It has many appealing features – it doesn’t have the choking atmosphere of Venus, and the other plants are completely unsuitable due to their structure or distance from the Sun. For a long time, astronomers were of the opinion that Mars was inhabited. The most recent evidence indicates otherwise, but the Red Planet continues to fascinate us. In this article, we will discuss three of the least-known but most interesting facts about Mars. By no means is this list exhaustive, but it should inspire you to learn more, just as Mars does.
1. Mars has incredibly dangerous weather
Most people know that Mars is a desolate planet composed of red deserts. Mars also has a very thin atmosphere — about one percent the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere. You might expect that this leads to weaker weather, but the opposite is true. The weather on Mars is actually much more dangerous than on Earth. Frequently, gigantic dust storms wrack the entire planet. These are extremely destructive and combine high winds and strong lighting strikes. If there was any life on Mars, then the storms would inflict enormous damage on it.
2. Life is an open question
While no scientific evidence has yet been found of life in Mars, that does not mean life is not a possibility. We can certainly rule out any kind of developed civilization, but the recent discovery of liquid, flowing water on Mars during part of the year raises tantalizing questions. Could there be bacteria in or near that water? It is true that life is capable of surviving in extreme conditions, so it will take much more testing to to see if there really us life on Mars. On the one hand, the conditions make in virtually impossible for anything larger than microscopic organisms to survive. On the other hand, we have found microscopic life in the most extreme climates of Earth. One of the biggest concerns is contamination- microscopic life from Earth could hitch a ride on a probe or spacecraft to Mars, spreading foreign life on the Red Planet’s surface.
3. A difficult journey
Getting to Mars is very hard. First of all, a manned mission to Mars would require an enormous amount of resources and support, which adds considerably to the difficulty of designing and planning a Mars trip. It takes anywhere from 150 days to 300 days to reach Mars under good conditions. That is a lot of food, water, and air. Some space agencies are attempting to research artificial hibernation as a way to cryogenically freeze astronauts so they need less resources, but this is theoretical. There is also stronger radiation in space outside of a planet’s magnetic sphere, such as the area between Mars and Earth. So a manned trip would need a lot of shielding. There is also little to no research about how a human or humans would fare on a mental level if they are cooped up in a tiny spaceship for nearly a year with no possibility of help. That’s not to mention the fact that while many space missions have tried to reach Mars with probes and unmanned craft, only NASA has succeeded in landing on Mars and not all of its deployments were successful. Even landing satellite communication technology or VSAT equipment has proved to be difficult. So landing humans safely would be a problem with significant risks.
These three facts constitute cutting-edge scientific research about Mars and its environment. The bottom line is that while there is no advanced life on Mars, it still holds fascinating secrets and an irresistible attraction for humans. Landing a manned mission on Mars might seem far-fetched right now, but so was the Moon landing at one point. Even unmanned missions send back more and more data each time, so there is scientific value in exploring Mars, even if it is only remotely. While Mars has a certain romantic attraction, it is highly unlikely that anyone living today will have the chance to walk on Mars. That said, the Red Planet will remain one of the most important sources of inspiration for Earthlings who want to explore the universe as deeply and broadly as possible.