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Mars - the next frontier

[Astronauts on expedition on mars]

Mars is the most discussed next step for manned spaceflight. Mars - the most earthlike planet of our Solar System - is the only planet that supports human exploration to the max. It has an atmosphere (not too dense but also not too dilute - also containing oxygen), a solid, not too cold (or hot) surface and most important - water: at least in a frozen state, or as actual research results from NASA indicate temporarily also in a liquid state. And there are almost all resources needed for production of most supplies. - Mars could become our second home.

Water on Mars

New gully in martian crater
© NASA/JPL

At the end of 2006, NASA anounced that they have evidence of liquid water on Mars as indicated by comparison of photos taken with the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. As can be seen in the picture to the left, a new gully has formed between 2001 (when left side of the picture was taken) and 2005 (when the right picture was taken). The gully is suspected to have formed from ground water, wich might become a source of water for future human explorers. (Source: JPL, NASA)

New impact craters found on Mars

new impact crater on the surface of Mars
© NASA/JPL

Another finding by comparison of photos from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft shows the existance of new impact craters on the surface of Mars. The picture to the right shows on the left an image from 2002 and on the right an image of the same region from 2006. As is clearly visible a new impact crater was formed in the meantime. As there are more new impact craters found all over the surface of Mars, these still regular impacts might pose a threat to future human expeditions, making a new protection concept nessesary. (Source: NASA/JPL)


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