#MarsDay17: What 2017 told us about the Red Planet
The view from Mars
In January we got an opportunity to see what Mars sees when it looks back at us. NASA released a stunning image taken 127 million miles (205 km) away on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, showing the Earth and moon in the distance.
The Orbiter has been observing Mars since 2006.
Extreme measures to make Mars habitable
As we get closer to the possibility of actually putting human beings on Mars NASA have been coming up with some elaborate plans as to how to keep them there. One of their most daunting involve surrounding the planet with a shield, protecting it from cosmic rays while a new atmosphere forms.
Sounds extreme? Well at least it doesn’t go as far as Elon Musk’s proposal of nuclear bombardment of the planet’s ice caps in the hope an atmosphere will quickly form.
If you are going to Mars take a jacket
The European Space Agency (ESA) treated us to some beautiful but cold images of the north-pole of Mars, covered in an extensive buildup of frost.
In colder months a thin layer of solid carbon dioxide amasses on Mars, before melting into vapor and releasing into the atmosphere when things heat up.
Mars is ‘fun’
Determined to get to Mars SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has been no stranger to singing the Red Planet’s praise. In a mission statement he gets to the heart of his determination to get there, the ability to “lift heavy things and bound around,” in the planet’s reduced gravity.
“It would be quite fun to be on Mars because you would have gravity that is about 37% of that of Earth,” Musk said, giving an answer we can all relate to.
Even Trump loves Mars
The adventurous lure of the Red Planet wasn’t lost on President Trump, who in March signed a bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding to NASA with an increased focus on putting a man on the planet.
During the signing, attended by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Senator Ted Cruz suggested the president “could send Congress to space.”
“What a great idea!” Trump mused.