Past, Present and Future Missions of Mars: Mars Helicopter Scout (Spring 2018)
It is foreseeable for humans to travel to and colonize Mars because of how far technology and science have come. Through analyzing past missions, such as the Mars Curiosity Rover, future missions, such as the Mars Helicopter Scout, to the red planet can be simplified and allow for more exciting discoveries. The Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) is a new NASA project set to launch alongside a rover in 2020. This helicopter will offer insight on the surface of Mars and provide aerial images of the surface, which can then be used to map the planet’s surface. By mapping the surface of Mars, the helicopter will provide geographical perspective and patterns of topography. The Curiosity rover is a past, successful mission that was launched with NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, for robot exploration of Mars. The goal of this mission is to provide insight into the habitability of Mars and whether life on Mars was/is possible. The Mars Insight Lander is a new mission launched to study Mars’ heat flow, seismology and interior structure. This mission is important in providing information of what lies beneath the surface of the red planet. Mars One is a future mission with the goal of establishing permanent colonization on Mars. Specific teams were chosen for this journey and will be trained to ensure such a mission.
By analyzing Mars missions, space teams are now able to prepare for future challenges that are associated with travelling to Mars. It is pivotal that we continue to launch missions in order to comprehend important details about logistics, physics, journey duration, atmosphere and safety in order to colonize Mars. Colonizing Mars is an exciting, popular topic; however, colonization is only possible if humans can safely travel to Mars. Although the many spacecrafts that have been deployed to Mars are not designed to carry people, they provide insight of the challenges we face with Mars’s atmosphere and the complications of traveling and landing on Mars. Through examining the Mars Helicopter Scout and other past and future missions, we are able to analyze how we gain knowledge regarding Mars, as we prepare for future Mars missions and, eventually, colonization.
Mars: The Seasonal Repercussions of the Martian Planet (Winter 2018)
Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is also the second smallest planet in our solar system. Its climate has important similarities to Earth such as the polar ice caps, seasonal changes and the presence of weather patterns. While Mars’ climate has similarities to Earth’s, there are also important differences, such as much lower thermal inertia and an atmosphere difference which makes it a prime target for exploration. On Earth, we experience four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter. These seasons can be broadly applied to Mars as well. The Seasons on Mars are influenced by the tilt of its axis and by its distance from the Sun. Earth is always about the same distance from the Sun, but the orbit of Mars is more elliptical, resulting in more energy from the sun at certain points along its orbit, making seasonal changes quite significant. There is the familiar winter, spring, summer and fall on Mars with an addition of two seasons, aphelion and perihelion, which occur because of Mars’ highly elliptical orbit. Throughout this project, we aim to compare and contrast each season on the “Red Planet” and analyze how they change various properties of the planet.
So we need to ask ourselves, how do we know what the effects of the different seasons of Mars are and how do they apply to its atmosphere, physical landscape, possibilities of life, and future colonization efforts?
Courtesy of NASA
Mineral Composition on Mars and its Implications on Living Organisms (Fall 2017)
Many here on Earth have a desire to explore Mars in great depth, as it may be the best extra terrestrial body which humanity could colonize in the relatively near future. Colonization requires consideration of many factors to ensure the survival of any such attempt. This research focuses on the main integral factor which will determine long term success on Mars, the mineral content of the planetary surface. Our research aims to help show the unique mineral anatomy of Mars and to find potentially suitable regions for colonization on Mars. We performed research on many areas using a variety of sources and gathered data to understand how the mineral composition of Mar's surface will influence the ease or difficulty of sustaining organic life.
Mars (Spring 2017)
“Mars Fever” hit its zenith in the science-fiction renaissance of the 1950s with such literature and films as: pop-culture embracing spherical bio-domes amidst bleak red Martian deserts, pulp-novel Martian adventures, literary accomplishments such as Ray Bradbury’s: The Martian Chronicles and movies where Mars’ “little green men” greet humankind with open arms or set about invading Earth themselves. Interest regarding the Mars migration is growing steadily; it is more important than ever to consider the feasibility of what was once merely science fiction, especially examining the possibility of terraforming our neighbouring planet so that it may sustain life as we know it on Earth—animal, vegetable, and mineral.
The Martian Atmosphere (Winter 2017)
As our population continues to grow and Earth becomes overcrowded, Mars is the natural next step in colonization. Due to its similarities and close proximity to our home planet, Mars has been viewed as the best option for the expansion of humanity for many years. Once thought to be a theme of pure science fiction, astronomers have begun researching and planning for the colonization of an area of our Solar System no human has been before. A seemingly desolate planet, the surface of Mars shows little promise for life at first glance, but as recent studies have shown, there may be more there than meets the eye. After taking a closer look at what the Red Planet truly holds, the possibility of colonization has never looked brighter.
Can a Greenhouse be Maintained on Mars? (Fall 2016)
Earth’s population is growing at a rapid pace, to the point where it becomes concerning that the carrying capacity has been overcome. Scientists project that we will need to double our food production by 2050,1 which will be challenging due to the ever-growing population overtaking valuable farmland. We are overusing nonrenewable resources such as minerals, fossil fuels, and water and the growing population is also causing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which are affecting the atmosphere negatively by increasing Earth’s atmospheric temperature. Because of these problems, it has become important to look into other planets that could potentially sustain life.
Colonization of Mars: Is it Possible? (Winter 2016)
Humankind’s curiosity for the unknown and sense of adventure has lead us places we never thought we could reach and made us overcome hostile situations due to our resilient nature. One such destination that we have dreamed of exploring is Mars, the fourth planet from the sun. There are many reasons for wanting to explore the surface of Mars. One of the prominent motivations to explore Mars is to examine the possibility of colonization. By colonizing Mars, we could allow for further growth of the human race without being affected by Earth’s limited resources for a growing population.
Water on Mars (Winter 2016)
There are thousands of asteroids and comets orbiting throughout the solar system right now. Those that travel close to Earth are known as Near Earth Objects or NEOs. A vast majority of these extra-terrestrial objects pose no threat to life on Earth, but at times these bodies drift into Earth’s vicinity and become a cause for concern. There are many programs aimed at the detection of these Near Earth Objects with the hopes of discovering threats with ample time to avoid catastrophe. Detection is the first step towards prevention, and as such the hunt for NEOs begins with an exploration of past and present detection programs, and a consideration of proposed future programs and technologies. The available preventative measures are hypothetical at this stage, but they generally focus on deflection systems. Should a NEO become a danger to Earth, its trajectory could be changed using one of the examined deflection techniques, safeguarding life as we know it. Better detection will result in more proactive and preventative measures to counter against devastating collisions.