Why haven't we sent a manned mission to Mars? Is it possible? Are there any plans under future consideration to colonize Mars? Do we currently have the technology to create a 'domed city' that could sustain life on Mars or other planets?
Right now,NASA is working on several missions to Mars which will bring back rocks from Mars to Earth. This will help us gather information to send a manned mission there. Right now, NASA is spending most of their money on the International Space Station. So, NASA is working on "micromissions", which will be smaller and cheaper.
Two rovers will be sent to Mars in 2003 and 2005. These rovers will pick up rocks from the surface of Mars and place them in canisters. The canisters will be launched into orbit by a rocket. The rocks will be picked up by an orbiter and returned to Earth. These soil samples are expected to arrive in Utah around 2008.
The samples will be tested to decide if life ever existed on Mars. The things the scientists find will help NASA decide whether to send people to Mars. Maybe humans will land on Mars in July 2019, in time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon.
Right now, plans are only to visit Mars. But there are some things which could help us live there in the future. One of these is Biosphere II, which is a large glass building with seven ecosystems inside. Maybe someday we will build space colonies similar to this. Right now, it is important to learn as much as possible about how our Earth environment works. Then we will be able to build everything we need to live on Mars!
Submitted by Kaleesa (Oregon, USA), Stephanie (Alaska, USA), Craig, Neil, Danny, Kyle, Rob, and Dustin
(January 11, 1999)