As Jeff Sheehy, chief engineer of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, claims, it would take around 3 years for a round trip to Mars if current chemical engines were used. The longer you are in space, the more dangerous the journey becomes as astronauts experience different gravity, expose themselves to radiation, thus weakening their bodies in the process. NASA aims to minimize the time outside the Earth to prevent astronauts from getting sick. Right now, the scientist's eyes are on nuclear-powered rockets that could take people to Mars in 3 months. These types of rockets have never been used before so it might take time until they are implemented.
When Curiosity landed on the surface of Mars in 2012, one of its tasks was to calculate the radiation on the planet. Curiosity detected lower radiation on the Murray Buttes region and scientists think Martian buttes, in general, are less dangerous when it comes to radiation.
Years on Mars fly by slower
Mars journey around the sun takes 687 Earth days, therefore one year on Mars is almost as twice as Earth's! While it means fewer birthdays, you can still keep your regular schedule on Mars. Mars’s days are about the same length as Earth’s, 24 hours and 37 minutes.
In Pennsylvania, there is a borough called Mars with 1,699 people living it. This little entity is famous for hosting the Mars New Year festival. The next celebration will take place on November 12, 2024, so get your passport ready!
Not only do we have Mars in Pennsylvania, but we also have pieces of the actual Red Planet on Earth! Sometimes Mars is hit by a comet or an asteroid and fall to Earth as meteorites. The largest piece of Mars we have weighs 32 pounds (14.5 kilograms) and measures 10 inches (25 centimetres) across at its widest point.
Water is believed to be essential for living beings as we know them, and it turns out it is possible to find water on Mars. Although it will come in ice or vapor, scientists are sure of Mars having water, thus making Mars the most habitable planet in the solar system after Earth. Interestingly enough, scientists speculate that there were lakes, rivers and even oceans on Mars, but due to atmospheric change, they dried out.
Back in 1609, Galileo Galilei saw Mars with a primitive telescope. After a year he wrote a letter for his friend saying that he was able to observe phases of Mars, but the planet itself appeared to him as not perfectly round. To honour the astronomer, one of the craters on Mars is called Galilaei - you can find it on Mars4 as well. It is an impact crater meaning it formed when a smaller body hit the surface.