Aside from Earth, no other planet in our solar system has been explored and researched as much as Mars. In fact, movies, books, and even myths have been created based on our fascination with this planet.
Marvin the Martian is real… right? So what drives our obsession with this celestial body referred to as the Red Planet?
Its Similarities With Earth
Out of all of the planets in our system, Mars resembles the planet Earth the most. Of course, there are some striking differences as there are with the other planets, but Mars is often referred to as Earth’s older (and bigger) sibling.
Both planets have four rotating seasons. The summer and fall seasons on Mars are characterized by dust storms and large drops in atmospheric pressure, whereas Earth’s seasons are more varied and less dramatic.
Mars and Earth both rotate and spin on an axis. While Mars tilts slightly more than the planet Earth the difference is less than 2 degrees. It does take Mars twice as long to circle the sun, however. The length of a day on Mars is approximately 37 minutes longer than that of Earth, but that just means the Martians get a little extra beauty sleep.
The surface of both Mars and Earth have mountains, valleys, craters, and even volcanoes. Although the Earth’s composition of water is vastly superior, recent discoveries have shown that Mars has been hiding this valuable resource underground.
Its Ease of Exploration
Easy access to anything will increase the opportunities to learn more about it. The same goes for any type of study in astronomy or other educational disciplines. Since Mars lives “next door,” exploration and discovery are more readily available.
The two other celestial bodies that are closer to the Earth, are the Moon and Venus. So why not study these surfaces instead of Mars?
Well, the Moon has very few resources and one day on the moon is equal to a month on Earth. Studying its day cycles would be an exercise in futility. Its atmosphere also doesn’t protect against radiation. On the other hand, Venus is uninhabitable.
Its temperature averages around 400 degrees, there’s the occasional acid rainstorm, and not even unmanned spacecraft or rover satellites could survive.
Mars presents the closest thing to a habitable planet for humanity. Although it would require advanced technology, visiting the Red Planet is not beyond our reach. It is the only planet in which NASA has sent rovers to cruise along its surface.
This is only possible due to its Earth-like conditions such as the ability to use solar panels, a sustainable gravity for humans, and a protective atmosphere.
The Future of Mars
As more and more discoveries are made about Mars, the more excited our space agencies get about being able to visit this planet. This possibility drives our obsession to learn as much as possible in order to one day land on Mars.
And with the recent discoveries that revealed the presence of more water in Mars’s surface, trips to the planet could be extended due to being able to separate the oxygen from hydrogen to use as fuel. It’s a widely held belief that a visit to Mars is very possible in the near future.