Take A Trip To Mars
Humans Want to Explore
Have you ever thought about exploring beyond the Earth? Mankind has explored our planet for tens of thousands of years – it is in our very nature to be explorers. Leaving the African continent and spreading across the planet, the accomplishments of human civilization reflect our desire to explore.
In the last century, the exploration of Earth has pretty much reached a climax. Apart from the depths of the oceans, humans have explored just about every corner of our planet. With the advent of space exploration in the late 1950s and early 1960s, humans have begun to reach beyond our atmosphere.
However, the exploration of planets other than Earth has been limited to robotic exploration. The science these rovers, landers, and orbiters have accomplished has contributed greatly to our understanding of other planets. But if mankind wants to know just what other planets have to offer, it will take humans on the surface.
Space.com published an article a few years ago that provided readers with a “roadmap” of destinations for future Mars explorers. From the tallest mountain in the solar system to the longest canyon, the list offers a list of places of interest across the surface of the red planet.
While the surface and features of Mars have been effectively explored using orbiters, landers, and rovers, there is nothing like having “boots on the ground”. To facilitate detailed exploration, or even long-term habitation, of the Martian surface, it will require humans landing and carrying out multiple missions.
Manned Missions to Mars
The timeframe for manned missions to Mars continues to be in a constant state of flux, at the whim of budgets for the various space agencies around the world that will need to collaborate to ensure mission success. However, there seems to be some consensus that sometime before the middle of the 21st century, people will be walking (and possibly living) on Mars.
In the meantime, the people of Earth continue to take advantage of the data coming back from those orbiters, landers, and rovers. Although the missions are designed with scientific and engineering objectives, people around the world are fascinated by the images, videos, and sounds coming back from the surface of another planet.
Through the lenses of the robots we have sent to scout the area, people have gotten to see some remarkable things. Olympus Mons, the tallest mountain in the solar system dwarfs Mount Everest with a height of over 13.5 miles (compared to Everest’s 5.5 miles). To be able to stand on the surface of Mars and look up to the top of this mountain will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those people who travel to the 4th rock.
The Grand Canyon is a big canyon, but compared to Valles Marineris, it is more of a scratch. The biggest canyon in the solar system is 2500 miles long, 120 miles wide, and over 4 miles deep. Again, humans on Mars will have something magnificent to look at as they stand on the edge of this canyon.
The exploration of Mars using robotic means will be key to developing a successful mission plan for the first manned flights. The roadmap published online is one of many lists of potential places to begin manned exploration. To get the most out of sending a crew on a multi-year journey, it will be necessary to take advantage of the science and engineering objectives of robotic missions.
Motivations for exploring Mars certainly include the search for life and other scientific research. But one can imagine that the humans given the opportunity to travel to the Martian surface will undoubtedly want to spend time exploring the sites. The landscape of Mars is unlike anything else in the solar system, and given the chance to explore that landscape, no rational human would turn down the trip of a lifetime.
How Motiv Space Systems Contributes to Martian Exploration
Motiv Space Systems has demonstrated ingenuity when it comes to contributing to the robotic exploration of Mars. The Perseverance mission relies heavily on Motiv engineering for its success. The technology that is in use on the rover will continue to be adapted and improved, and could eventually lead to technology that contributes to the manned exploration of Mars. Using robotic technology to first explore Olympus Mons or Valles Marineris, especially Motiv’s camera systems, will make manned missions safer and more productive.
As the Moon is explored in the next decade as a possible springboard for Mars, Motiv’s robotic systems, such as a robotic arm capable of operating in the extreme cold on the Lunar surface, will continue to enable the future of space exploration. Using the Moon as a proving ground for technology, Motiv will be demonstrating key designs that will make exploring the surface of Mars easier.
The exploration of Mars, whether by robotic, scientific, or tourist means, will continue to enthrall millions of people here on Earth. The list provided by Space.com can give even armchair astronauts an idea of what awaits on the surface of the red planet. And using Motiv Space Systems’ engineering designs have already started to enable more advanced exploration via robotic means.
As technology continues to be developed, tested, and refined, the possibilities for exploring Mars, and beyond, will become limited only by the imaginations of the engineers developing that technology.