Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon, but who will be the first person to land on Mars? NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has been working on this since the 70s, but now it’s 2017 and the question still remains.
Where we have gone
NASA has sent many rovers and even people into space, but no people have been to any planets. You may be asking, “How do we know so much about the other planets”?
We have sent rovers to all the planets in the solar system, however there have only been men on the moon, not on any planets. NASA has sent two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, to Mars. Since June and July of 2016, Spirit and Opportunity have traveled 34 million miles to land on Mars.
Getting to Mars has proven challenging to NASA. Several challenges include the travel to Mars, the temperature, and the radiation.
This is a picture of Mars and next to line is Olympus Mons. Olympus Mons is the largest mountain in our universe, with a height of nearly 22 km (13.6 miles).
According to NASA it will take approximately six months to travel to Mars and another six months to travel back. In addition to that year of just traveling, the astronauts will have to be on Mars for around 18-20 months before the planets realign for a return trip.
Money also plays a big problem in our travel to Mars. The budget to Mars will cost around 9 billion dollars, but that isn’t bad compared to our first mission to the moon in 1969 which was 25.4 billion dollars. Today, that is around 150 billion dollars, despite costing much less to go to Mars because our technology is much more advanced then in 1969.
Mars is harshly cold compare to Earth, after all it is farther away from the sun. On average, the temperature on Mars is about negative 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but because Mars rotates on an axis like Earth it has seasons. The seasons vary in length because of Mars' orbit around the sun.
In the winter, near the poles temperatures can go below 195 degrees F. A summer day on Mars may get up to 70 degrees F near the equator, but at night the temperature can plummet to about minus 100 degrees F.
Mars has an atmosphere which is 100 times thinner than ours, which means Mars is 95 percent carbon dioxide which lets in more radiation.
Radiation from space always reaches Earth, but not as harmful as Mars’ radiation. Radiation is a type of energy. Our planet’s magnetic field caused by our atmosphere makes most radiation to bounce back, but Mars has a much thinner atmosphere which means there magnetic field isn’t as strong as ours.
A University of California-Irvine School of Medicine study found that radiation from a trip to Mars could cause long-term brain damage.
A recent study at Coleytown middle school shows that 54% out of the 54 students that took the survey think radiation is the biggest challenge on going to Mars.
When will astronauts get to Mars?
NASA is trying to get astronauts to Mars, but as you can see it is a handful to achieve. They’re aiming to get astronauts on the moon as soon as possible, and they finally have an estimation on when that will be.
NASA made an announcement on the NASA tv, “It was announced that Orion will bring four astronauts at a time to asteroids between Earth and Mars by 2025, and the first humans will reach the red planet in the mid-2030s. This venture into deep space will be the farthest humans have gone since Apollo 17 went to the moon in 1972” (NASA Announces Plans To Send Astronauts To Mars In Mid-2030s).
Maybe by the mid 2030s we will now who the next Neil Armstrong will be.