Worlds Beyond Worlds: Life in Mars

“Maybe we’re on Mars because of the magnificent science that can be done there — the gates of the wonder world are opening in our time. Maybe we’re on Mars because we have to be, because there’s a deep nomadic impulse built into us by the evolutionary process — we come, after all, from hunter-gatherers, and for 99.9% of our tenure on Earth, we’ve been wanderers. And the next place to wander to is Mars. But whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad you’re there. And I wish I was with you.” These are the words immortalized by Carl Sagan, credited as a legend in the field of Astronomy and a co-composer of the Arecibo message — a project that aims to communicate with extraterrestrial intelligence embedded in the Golden Record and sent into space. He dedicates this message to the future inhabitants and explorers of Mars.

In one of Sagan’s books entitled Cosmos, he expressed a deep-seated concern once Mars is easily accessible: “The surface area of Mars is exactly as large as the land area of the Earth. A thorough reconnaissance will clearly occupy us for centuries. But there will be a time when Mars is all explored; a time after robot aircraft have mapped it from aloft, a time after rovers have combed the surface, a time after samples have been returned safely to Earth, a time after human beings have walked the sands of Mars. What then? What shall we do with Mars?”

With the glowing sphere of hot gas as the center of the solar system, it is situated fourth, at more than 142 million miles from the blazing ball of heat. It completes a full day much slower than Earth at 24.6 hours. Due to its location, it revolves around the sun longer than the Earth at 687 days. It’s a consolation that our Earth is relatively larger than Mars.

When viewed from the Hubble Telescope, Mars appears to be fiery red because of the oxides that permeate the planet. According to NASA, these minerals oxidize, or in the simplest sense, they rust, therefore coloring the soil red.

How to get to Mars

Presently, scientists are working double time in hopes of putting humans on Mars with NASA and SpaceX as the big players in space travel. Once this becomes a reality, Mars might just be one of the many places that travel bloggers will write about!

A Tourist’s Guide to The Red Planet

The maximum temperature on Mars is around 30℃, which is a consolation. However, the average temperature is at around -65℃, and the minimum drops at around -140℃ (which is three times colder than the South pole!)

Upon arriving on Mars, hypothetically, you should feel light since the gravity on the red planet is only 38% of Earth’s. On the other hand, the air is unbreathable since it is mainly made up of carbon dioxide and nitrogen (better make investments on a fancy-looking and portable oxygen tank).

Tourist Attractions

Olympus Mons

You’ve probably heard this a couple of times from friends or family who are space fanatics. Olympus Mons is famously known as the largest volcano in the solar system, which is as large as Arizona and encompasses three Mount Everests stacked on top of each other!

Valles Marineris

Valles Marineris is a vast expanse, blanketing almost a fifth of the circumference of Mars. It is comparable to the Earth’s Grand Canyon. When viewed through the world’s most powerful telescopes, it appears as dark scars on the planet’s surface, which are known as “chasmata,” steep depressions that resemble canyons to a certain degree.

Kasei Valles

This attraction is a collection of chasms surpassing the size of the Grand Canyon. Scientists postulated that billions of years ago, the climate of Mars was warmer; thus liquid water rushed into these land formations. The Valles was perhaps carved when the temperature decreased.

Becquerel Crater

This crater is named after French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel, credited with the Nobel Prize in physics back in 1903. Scientists postulate that this punch in the ground is rich in sulphate-rich rocks that are formed after water evaporates. They also suspect that this was once a 160 km-wide lake. Fascinating.

Photo Sources:

Cover Photo – NASA
Photo 1 – NASA
Photo 2 – NASA
Photo 3 – YouTube 0:07
Photo 4 – YouTube 1:10
Photo 5 – YouTube 1:20
Photo 6 – YouTube 0:56