One question that is being asked by people is, "Why go to
Mars"? The reasons are very simple. People want to gain
recognition of how they were the first people who went to
Mars and opened up a whole new world and most importantly
to move forward in economics.
As humans waste the precious materials and resources found
on this planet we have to consider going to other planets
to explore for materials and energy resources. Mars would
be the first area for industrial development and mining in
the "new world".
There are talks that by the end of this century that a
manned mission to Mars should take place. We must start
preparing ourselves properly in order to explore
better. Scientists and researchers hopes when exploring Mars is to find interesting minerals or matter that will help us understand what Mars was like millions and millions of years ago. The first manned mission to Mars will be more complex then that of the first Moon landing which the main goal for going to the Moon was to just land safely. The main thing that researchers and scientists are striving for is exploratory, searching for useful raw materials such as water and at the same time building up an extensive scientific picture of Mars-its state at the present moment, its history and what the future developments are going to be. As astronauts journey to Mars and finally reach there the main concern and top priority when landing will be the astronauts safety. There will be more flexibility when choosing a landing site. The astronauts will decide where they want to land but must take into consideration that the roving vehicles would be able to provide extended range when travelling on the surface of Mars. This most probably would ensure that the sites that are in the scientists interest would easily be accessible. Possible landing sites must be chosen under one goal, that would be the overall understanding of the surface and not by a place that looks attractive or has special features even if they seem alluring. The things that have to be taken in account for possible landing sites are: - guaranteeing that the explorers will touch down at the place which is specified; - choosing a place where possible interesting geological features may be found; - choosing an area where rocks have recently been exposed; - a certain area must be specified of where the roving vehicles may go. Regions on Mars that have extensive dune fields and barely any bedrock, the surface mobilities should be within a few kilometres to guarantee that samples can be obtained without any difficulty. Landing sites that have easy access to more than one type of interesting terrain has an advantage but unfortunately these sites lean to be more on the rough side and might pose to be a weighty hazard and obstacles might be in the way of roving vehicles. There are a possible of ten prime landing sites that might be chosen when a manned mission to Mars has taken place. The Kasei and Mangala valles are made up of striking features which seem to have channels that are evidently engraved by flowing water from the past. Extensive studies would provide significant clues to why Mars lost reserves of water. These locations would offer and give explorers a big advantage as this area is close to the large volcanoes and volcanic plains that are near the equator, which will have affected their geology a tremendous deal. There are other riveting sites other than these, but they are difficult to reach for a manned mission to Mars. The Polar region sites are precluded for manned missions because fuel would be expensive to change form an initial parking orbit to a tilted orbit in order to make it possible to land there. With non-polar sites, it would be difficult to land on a gigantic volcanoes or canyons. The problems with visiting the southern hemisphere regions is that it is less attractive then the northern hemisphere and the terrain is much more rougher. These areas are also the origin of dust storms and if a spacecraft were to land there it would be foolish. Although these regions are not going to be explored by explorers, at a later time or date they will be visited by long-range vehicles, with men or without, sent from bases elsewhere. Once the space craft has landed on the Mars and a go-ahead for a long stay has been given the crew they will eat and rest for their venture on the surface the next day. As walkers emerge onto Mars they will have to lower visors which is coated with a thin, transparent layer of gold which eliminates unsafe ultraviolet radiation. As they emerge on the surface they will go around their spacecraft and look for any damage done and then will grab soil samples in case the explorers have to make a quick retreat. At the same time they will unload a roving vehicle in which they will travel. On foot, explorers would be able to cover a little more than a mile from the base that they would have set up. If rovers (land vehicles) were taken along then more area could be covered during exploring the planet and then would easily be able carried back to their base. When travelling across the Martian surface there will be many difficulties encountered by the explorers when using the roving vehicles. On a manned mission there will be two kinds of roving vehicles one for smooth surfaces and one for not so smooth surfaces in an effort to increase the range of exploration. Unmanned rovers might have the same idea as the Soviet rover which has six wheels, nuclear-powered design and weighing several hundred pounds and each rover would be equipped with a standard set of sensors. Several rovers would be dispatched and controlled possiblly by an orbiting satellite. After the crew has left Mars the rover would still probe around Mars and collect samples. The rover would be controlled from earth. Larger manned rovers will also be needed for transporting up to six hundred and eighty kilogram loads on forty kilometre journeys round trip. They should be able to go over twenty degree slopes and be able to climb one foot boulders. Even these rovers would be limited. For more vast exploration a vehicle with a laboratory would be sent. The weight of the rover would be between four to five tons but it would be able to transport two or three crew members for as long as thirty days. The range of the rover would be 100 kilometres from their base and reach speeds up to thirty-two kilometres per hour and carry two tons of equipment. In the Soviet unmanned mission to Mars balloons will be essential when the soviets arrive there. They have many advantages such as being simple, cheap and light and would be able to cover thousands of kilometres of land in a few weeks. After each balloon is unpacked the crew would test its instruments by plugging it into standard test equipment and then attach a thin plastic object to it and inflate it with helium which would be in a pressure bottle and then release the balloon and let it drift independently. The heights that the balloon could be able to reach would depend on its volume, the weight of the payload that is in the balloon and the atmospheric temperature which changes during the course of the day. Later Manned Mars missions would have planes to explore the surface. Studies have shown that a powered aircraft would be able to drop scientific packages, penetrators and even deliver materials needed by parties that are exploring the planet. After landing on Mars the crew would bolt together the plane. It would look like large powered glider and would be launched by a catapult or rockets. The plane would have fifteen horse power engine and it would be driven by steam which would be generated by the chemical breakdown of hydrazine. The tremendous benefit of having a Mars plane is that it can be reused, it would be easy to manoeuvre and the range the plane would be able to travel. Maybe one day in a future mission planes would be able to glide over the surface of the planet which would benefit scientific surface exploration. When the explorers are on the planet their days will be long and exhausting. Human explorers can explore more efficiently and more thoroughly than robots can. Humans are more adaptable than robots. Humans would be able to assess a huge assortment of situations faster and would be able to adjust to their actions accordingly to what has to be done. A trained geologist with a rock hammer can accumulate more samples that would be available around the planet in an hour than an automated rover would be able to do in a year. Humans will be extremely valuable in the search for life on the planet. A professional astronaut would have the skills to easily spot a protected site that would be favourable to life. An example of this would be a spot sheltered by a rock. Equipment which is automatic that astronauts have is better for things like, repetitive measurements which would be stretched over long periods of time. Scientific research will be divided into two main categories. There would be a day to day exploration by the astronauts which would have more difficult tasks. They would also be responsible for long-term monitoring by automatic packages which would be left behind when they leave the planet. The main concern for the astronauts would be geological investigation of the planet. There might be one or more geologists in a mission to Mars. Teams of geologists at mission control will plan exploration traverses by using the orbiter's to take pictures of the surface. These pictures will produce a route map that would help the astronauts while they are exploring the planet. The astronauts will not be just responsible to collect samples and bring them home but also they must study the rocks while on the planet and conduct some analyses. The things that astronauts are looking for is the chemical and mineral composition of the rocks which would provide them with the information on the geological history of Mars, at which places were the rocks formed, at which temperatures and pressures were they formed, development of the atmosphere and the history of water on Mars. Necessary information will be profited from the rocks that are on the surface, but when drilling deep into the ground and dislodging the rock, it will uncover the historical development of the regions geology. Each day the astronauts job will be to set on the surface in a rover which would contain standard geological tools like hammers, chisels, rakes, sieves and tongs which would enable them to pick up essential rocks even if they seem awkward to pick up with their space suits on. Connected to their space suits there will be a gnomon. This unique device is like a tripod with a free-hanging central rod, which is able to photograph against each sample before it is dislocated from the surface so the exact location is know to the astronauts. This photograph shows the scale of each of the objects removed, slop of the ground and its shadow that indicates the direction of the Sun. A colour pattern will be attached to the photograph which allow scientists on Earth to reconstruct the colours which surround the object removed. This is crucial because cameras sometimes tend to distort the colour to some degree. After each sample is photographed their locations would be carefully written down. The astronaut will then place the samples in hermetically sealed containers. Geologists would highly recommend that a percentage of the sample be kept refrigerated at Marslike temperatures to prevent the soil sample to change on the way back to earth. The astronauts rover would stop every few hundred feet and soil samples would be tested automatically. Drilling around the planet would be carried out on a regular basis. This would be one of the astronauts most vigorous activities. The rover of the astronaut will carry electrical powered drills and a supply of aluminium tube sections. The drill will be similar to jack-hammers used in construction on Earth. The drill will be powered by a compressor using Mars' carbon dioxide atmosphere. Mars' internal structure will be better understood when scientists find out the rate of heat flow from the interior. A method of doing this is by thermometers which would be placed at different depths of Mars. Little heaters would be positioned near thermometers which would reveal how heat flows through the material that makes up the surface layers. Most probably on a trip to Mars there will be complicated apparatus' for extensive analyses of soil. An electron scanning microscope would probably be used to look for any tiny fossils and aid in hopes of distinguish any minerals. An X-ray fluorescence spectrometer will be used to record the X-rays emitted by materials when they are irradiated by a radioactive source which will discover the materials present. There also will be a combined gas chromatography and a mass spectrometer which will separate and measure the gases that is driven off when a sample is heated When humans and rovers finally get to the poles, their top priority will be to get samples of the core which will be taken from the layers of deposits of ice and dust (which is millions of years old). This would probably have a record of how the climate has changed over hundreds of million of years. There are numerous fascinating surface structures of
and when explorers do go to Mars it will be interesting to see what information they bring back about the places that have already been identified and the things and places that remain a mystery to us. These places include the volcanoes, the north and south poles of Mars, the equatorial canyons, the unique craters, basins etc. All these places when studied will help us get a better understanding of the planet which has amazed us from pictures that were taken from non manned missions. The volcanoes on the planet are the most startling features of Mars. There are many volcanoes on Mars but the most sensational is found near the equatorial region of Tharsis. On the planet, volcanoes have been around much of the planet's history. The general shape hints that eruptions of fluid lava has very small amounts of ash in it. The chemical composition of the terrestrial volcanoes on the planet shows that lava and the rate at which the volcanoes erupted affected the volcanoes's final structure. The craters of Mars have a huge ranges from little as a several meters across to huge broad basins which are up to hundreds of kilometres in diameter. The southern hemisphere contains hardly any craters which is visible but in the northern hemisphere there an abundant amount of craters. There are about sixteen basins on Mars each one larger than0 two hundred and fifty kilometres in diameter somewhere on the surface of Mars. Each basin appears to be vast and multi-ringed. Some basins are fairly new but the others are significantly old which look considerable eroded There are many striking features of Mars but we must understand the dilemma that is on Mars about the water. There are many things on the surface of Mars that look like water channels. Many years ago scientists thought that these channels were made by erosion, by lava, or the wind might have made these channels but this no longer holds true today. Scientists know that water did once exist in huge quantities by the visible channels of Mars. We have found out that water did once exist on Mars but where has it all gone? Unfavourable scientists can only take a guess by what is know about the planet and then estimate at how much water Mars once had, how much of the water escaped on the surface and how much of it is hidden to the naked eye. The amount of water that is on Mars is negligible. The polar caps of Mars contain some water but they are mixed with frozen carbon dioxide and dust so the quantity of water is not known. The permafrost underground is another water supply. The colder the conditions of Mars then the more chance of finding permafrost under the surface of Mars. There are estimates that at the poles the permafrost is well up to eight kilometres thick and lie just a few centimetres below the surface. Near the equator the permafrost is estimated to be up to, two to three kilometres thick and just a few metres deep. When a trip to Mars takes place and in the near future it will many scientist, researchers and the people will be excited to learn what the planet is like. There are many fascinating things on Mars that still remain a mystery today and a manned mission to Mars will help us unravel these mysteries. Bibliography Asimov, Isaac. MARS, The Red Planet. New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Company. 1977 Asimov, Isaac. MARS: Our Mysterious Neighbor. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens publishing. 1988 Simon, Seymour. MARS. New York: William Morrow and Company. 1987 Frank Miles and Nicholas Booth. Race to Mars. New York: Harper and Row publishers. 1988