Hi, need to submit a 750 words paper on the topic Explore this and other web sites and answer the following ten questions on Mars. Full The Mars Missions (Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity) 04 October (estimated word count 006 Thereare six geologic processes found on the planet Mars (aeolian, cratering, hydro, landslides, tectonic and volcanic) although not all of them are occurring at present. Only those of the aeolian (wind streaks and sand storms), cratering (erosion and degradation) and tectonic (in the Tharsis and Elysium regions) are seen at present. Another example of an ongoing process are the giant sand storms observable even on Earth that produce a yellowish-rust color on the entire Mars (Hsui 1). The other processes are believed to have occurred much earlier in Martian history. 2. The purpose of the “Spirit” and “Opportunity” missions was to study the surface of Mars to determine any past water activity (liquid water does not exist in Mars today due to temperature and pressure conditions) such as sedimentation, precipitation, and evaporation based on soil and rock samples selected and tested by the rovers. The three things learned about Mars’ surface are it has a very thin atmosphere (at only 6% of Earth’s atmospheric pressure), the Martian atmosphere is composed mainly of gases carbon dioxide (95%), nitrogen (3%), argon (1.6%) and other rare gases. and lastly, its Martian rocks are made mostly of basalt and fairly high levels of nickel and iron in some of the soil samples and rocks taken and tested so far. 3. The purpose of the latest mission to Mars is to study the planet up close with the use of a mobile scientific laboratory on its surface. Its success is defined by the innovative way it landed using a giant parachute and in the final seconds, lower the rover on piece of tether. Its success is to demonstrate an ability to land a very large and heavy rover, a good preparation for a manned expedition to Mars in the future (JPL 1). 4. The highest mountain on Mars (and in the entire solar system) is the Olympus Mons which rises some 25-27 kilometers from the surface plain. It is of volcanic origins and it reached this incredible height due to intense volcanic activity in the years past. 5. A very interesting image taken by the rover Curiosity is that of the Gale Crater area in which there is very fine sand, similar to or characteristic of a desert. The whole area is colored bright rust due to the presence of iron-rich minerals in its regolith. 6. The Curiosity rover, in one of its explorations, found a dry riverbed that showed flow channels for water, very similar to those found on Earth. This was a conclusion made by Sanjeev Gupta regarding the discovery of rounded pebbles on the dry streambed, as it indicated the action of water on the stones, making them rounded and smoothened. 7. The polar Martian surface is composed of several thin layers of water ice combined in many places with Martian dust. At the top of these layered deposits is the frozen water that is present year-round while additionally, frost enlarges the polar ice caps during its wintertime, made up mostly of solidified carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is due to the atmospheric process of lowered temperatures due to the planet’s rotation in which its axis is tilted like that of the Earth, giving it the Martian seasons. Atmosphere temperatures can vary greatly, from plus 20 degrees C to minus 125 degrees C. 8. Scientists know that a meteorite which landed on Earth came from Mars based on the elements and isotopic compositions as analyzed in the laboratory and found to be very similar to those found on Mars based from the rocks and atmospheric gases analyzed by the previous fly-by missions and now confirmed by the rover missions on Mars. Of some 50,000 plus meteorites found on Earth, almost all of them are of Martian origin. 9. The Valles Marineris is a system of giant canyons and gullies formed by the geologic action of water many years ago but already completely dried up. This Martian landscape is a big rift valley about 5,000 km long, 100 km wide and 10 kms deep. 10. Manned missions to Mars are the target of the NASA within the next decade. Distance from Earth to Mars varies considerably, from 36 million miles to 250 million miles as the two planets move in elliptical orbits around the Sun and the time it takes for human beings to reach the planet Mars is estimated to be between 7 to 8 months or a period of about 250 days. The technical and scientific difficulties have been solved in the landing of the Mars Curiosity Rover but the physiological challenges involved with human travel are still quite considerable, such as very prolonged periods of weightlessness, extreme isolation (Kumar 1) or physical inactivity and possible effects on body processes such as blood pressure, metabolism, digestion, hormone levels, the effect of long periods of darkness on mental stability, ophthalmic impact, sleep patterns and many other physiological processes. Two possible solutions to this problem is to shorten the trip period considerably by a higher travel speed using an experimental plasma propulsion technology and another option is to put humans into some sort of hibernation, much like the bears in winter, to relieve the boredom of a very long trip. I believe this mission will occur because Man is always curious and adventurous in his very nature, just like the man who climbed a mountain because it is there. In the same manner that Mars is there, so Man will also try to reach this planet, just as he had landed on the Moon. The idea and possibility of inter-planetary and eventually, interstellar or intergalactic travel, will be achieved because of Man’s scientific ingenuity and propensity for exploration. Man always likes to think big and one of these foremost ambitions is to populate the entire cosmos (O’Neill 1) and propagate the human species. Going beyond Earth’s gravity and establish some colony in outer space is a good option to perpetuate humankind if ever Earth becomes quite inhospitable in the future, maybe due to pollution, global warming or rising sea levels. Works Cited Hsui, Albert T. “Geology of Mars.” University of Illinois, 22 May 2002. Web. 1 Oct. 2012. . Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Mars Science Laboratory: Curiosity Rover.” Overview, 2012. Web. 2 Oct. 2012. . Kumar, Alexander. “The Journey to White Mars.” New York Times, 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 3 Oct. 2012. . O’Neill, Ian. “The Interstellar Space Sex Fallacy.” Discovery News, 5 Oct. 2011. Web. 3 Oct. 2012. .
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