Since the 1960s scientists all across the globe have sent probes searching for more information about our fellow planet in the solar system, Mars. It wasn’t until 1967 when the Mariner 4 finally reached Mars that we were able to see a close up look at the planet covered in craters and dust. Science since then has progressed immensely and today we have the technology to send more and more probes, satellites and other instruments to find out just what Mars consists of. Today, as many of you may have heard, a new and exciting frontier has shown promising signs of life. Scientists recently have found signs of water on Mars. Everyone across the globe is excited to see where this new discovery could take science over the next few decades. However, first it is important to look at the facts. The size of Mars is much smaller than that of Earth. In fact, Earth’s mass is ten times the size of Mars and it’s radius is twice as big. Overall Mars’ surface area is 28% of the surface area of Earth. With that being said and to put in perspective, that would be around all of the land on earth. Mars has a very dry surface with craters covering the planet. The average temperature of Mars is around -81 degrees fahrenheit with a maximum temperature of 68 degree fahrenheit. At a first glance, it seems life on Mars to be far from possible. However, the signs of water could be crucial in discovering possible life as well as a possible frontier for us to explore.
Despite what many think, the discovery of water on mars does not mean we have found a large lake on the surface or a hidden ocean on the other side. The evidence of water, although strong, does not suggest any large body of water on the planet. In fact, the scientists have no idea where this water is coming from. There are theories that they have such as the possibility of an ice field beneath the surface of Mars. It’s possible that during certain times of the year the surface heats up, melting the ice and bringing it to the surface. However the theory in which most scientists believe to be accurate is that the water comes from Mars’ very thin atmosphere. This creates a problem because of how hard it would be to obtain the water, if we were to ever travel to Mars.
Elon Musk, known as the real-life Ironman, believes that we should continue our efforts to put humans on the planet of Mars. As you know by now, the characteristics of Mars does not serve as a hospitable place for humans to live. His idea is that we should send nuclear missiles at both of the poles in order to heat up the planet. This would transform the planet from a cold, dry, dusty surface into an earthlike planet. That being said there are many who refute Musk’s proposal. NASA states, “We are also committed to promoting exploration of the solar system in a way that protects explored environments as they exist in their natural state.” Another scientist, Michael Mann who is the Penn State University director of Earth System Science Center, stated that such a bombing could cause the reverse effect and put Mars into a nuclear winter.
Although there are many obstacles that scientists must overcome before living on Mars becomes a feasible task, possibilities are endless. Everyday there are scientists studying the probe’s photographs and finding new information and clues. The finding of water on Mars is a huge milestone for space exploration. It proves many of scientists theories to be correct and allows for further investigation. However for the time being the planet of Earth will have to suffice.