Human Exploration of Mars

Human Exploration of Mars


Going to Mars is not Star Trek. It’s not
“go where no man has gone before” as they say. It’s really all about
letting our planetary scientists be the pioneers. Be the group that scouts the
future and looks at resources that we can use on the planet. What are the things they need to know, to
be able to safely land, live and return from Mars? The scientific knowledge, the
technologies that we need that can make human exploration of Mars happen are
within our grasp. In our lifetime we actually can see humans land and work on
Mars. A major step in this direction of planning has been the definition of what
we call Human Exploration Zones. This is a region – we will land, we will
live, we will use resources in many different
ways and we want to go to a variety of scientifically exciting locations, do it
in ways that humans and only humans can do. And so our orbital assets are
critical to be able to determine and look for those right landing sites. In
addition to that you may not know that they are also relay satellites these
relay satellites are critical to support our landed assets. Our communication will
also increase significantly from typically the radio frequencies that we
use today to perhaps optical communication. That will be a critical
communication technology that will allow high-bandwidth data, voice but also video,
so necessary to support human exploration on the surface of Mars. There’s a variety of in situ
resource utilization experiments that are being thought about and planned These
are important to understand the area of our landing sites. Power systems and
energy systems will be deployed that are very new and unique. Supply of oxygen and
carbon in the atmosphere is how we can extract oxygen in the quantities – but
also sufficient water, we now know there are regions on Mars for which there may
be an abundant source of water. So these observations that we are making are
revolutionizing our concepts of how we’re going to use the resources to live
and work on Mars. So why are we going to Mars? Well because
to scientists it’s really a step in terms of finding life beyond Earth. You
know exploration is really in our genes. It’s a very integral part of what we are
all about as humans but as a human species if we’re going to survive we
need to move off this planet and on to the next object and Mars indeed is that
next object. So Mars gives us a wonderful opportunity to explore scientifically
today but in our future it is a location where we can go, we can
live, work, in addition to return.

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