03 September 2007

Set Rovers to "Rove"

According to NASA, the Mars Rovers are now exploring the planet again. It has been six weeks since the rovers have been sent into hibernation mode. Severe dust storms over the planet forced mission planners to halt the exploration until the storm passed. "The clearing could take months," said rover Project Scientist Bruce Banerdt. "There is a lot of very fine material suspended high in the atmosphere."

I think this project is very important to everyone. This is the first time we have had information of this magnitude about another planet. Sure, we have been to the moon, and that gave us a lot of useful information, but this right now is another planet that we can someday hope to colonize. If the presence of water is found, either in liquid or frozen form, you can almost bet that we will be sending a manned team to the surface of Mars.

I hope that if a manned team is sent to Mars, that is done in my lifetime to be able to see it. But, according to the Space Review, "the greatest challenge for Mars missions is getting there and back. The huge masses of propellants needed for the legs of a space mission are significant limitations to feasibility of the mission." Their opinion is that a manned mission to Mars will not be seen before 2040, but more feasibly, 2080. Although, the BBC reported that Europe has plans to send a manned mission around the year 2030.

I guess that I'm a visionary and a geek and I would love to see this science fiction story played out and see us conquer new worlds. In fact, I read Geeknews.net about this article which got me going on this rant. Hopefully the mission will be possible in the years to come.

(The first image was provided by NASA, while the last was provided by Manned Mission to Mars website.)

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