Mission live on mars

The solar system consists of a star called ‘Sun’ with ‘nine planets’ spinning and rotating around it. The planets in our solar system are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. At the advanced level, the solar system includes the satellites of the planets; numerous comets, asteroids, meteoroids and the interplanetary medium.

The Sun is the main source of electromagnetic energy (mainly in the form of heat and light) in the solar system. The closest known stellar neighbor to the Sun is a red dwarf star called Proxima Centauri, at a distance of 4.3 light years. A light year is a unit of astronomical distance equivalent to the distance traveled by light in one year, or 6 trillion miles or 9.6 trillion km.

The entire solar system, along with local stars visible on a clear night, orbits the center of our home galaxy, a spiraling disk of 200 billion stars we call the Milky Way. The Milky Way has two small galaxies orbiting nearby, which are visible from the southern hemisphere. They are called the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud. The nearest large galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy. It is a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way but it is 4 times more massive and is 2 million light-years away.

Our galaxy, one of billions of known galaxies, travels through intergalactic space. Planets, most satellites of planets, and asteroids revolve around the Sun in the same direction, in nearly circular orbits. Looking from above at the North Pole of the Sun, the planets orbit counter-clockwise. The planets orbit the Sun in or near the same plane called the ecliptic. Pluto is a special case in that its orbit is the most inclined (18 degrees) and the most elliptical of all the planets.

Therefore, on part of its orbit, Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune. The axis of rotation of most planets is almost perpendicular to the ecliptic. The exceptions are Uranus and Pluto, which are tilted sideways. The mystery of this space science is certainly beyond human comprehension and certainly beyond the scope of this column. Scientists, over the years, strive to uncover these mysteries, but instead uncover more mysteries, a case of “the more you look, the less you understand”. You can only marvel at the supreme and perfect design of the cosmos.

Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are the four innermost planets of the solar system. They are called telluric planets because of their compact and rocky surfaces. The planets, Venus, Earth and Mars have significant atmospheres while Mercury has almost none. The other planets; Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are called the Jovian planets (similar to Jupiter). This is because they are all gigantic compared to our planet, Earth, and have a gaseous nature like that of Jupiter. The Jovian planets are also called the gas giants, although some or all of them may have small solid cores.

Over the past five decades, myriad space explorers have emerged from Earth’s atmosphere to discover our planetary neighbors and their many satellites.
My article on “Apollo II: Marking 60 years of man’s land romance with space” published on September 2, 2021 discussed the successful manned planetary mission to the moon. The United States’ Apollo program landed people on the moon.

Six missions landed men on the Moon, beginning with Apollo 11 in July 1969. Apollo 13 was supposed to land, but could not due to a malfunction on board the spacecraft. All nine manned missions returned safely to Earth. The leading countries in space technologies are the United States, Russia, China, Japan and India. While the United States focused on the manned Apollo program, the Soviet Union focused on unmanned missions that deployed rovers and returned samples to Earth. Three rover missions were launched, two of which were successful, and eleven sample return flights were attempted with three successes. After recording successes on the lunar mission, the next challenge faced by astronomers is the “mission to mars”.

Mars is the next single destination after the lunar mission for scientific discovery and robotic and human exploration as we expand our presence in the solar system. The formation and evolution of Mars are comparable to those of Earth; therefore, the scientific study of Mars can help us learn more about the history and future of our own planet. Already some of the observations on Mars show conditions suitable for life in its past. Future exploration may uncover evidence of the fundamental mysteries of human existence and the galaxies. This is why human attention has focused on Mars for the past 50 years.

As mentioned, Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and the second smallest planet in the solar system, after Mercury. It is sometimes called the “red planet” because of the iron oxide present on its surface, which gives it a reddish appearance. Mars, one of the terrestrial planets, has a thin atmosphere, with surface features reminiscent of both the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts and polar caps of Earth.

The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are similar to those of Earth. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and the second highest known mountain in the solar system. The smooth Borealis Basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and can be a giant impact feature. Mars has two moons orbiting it, Phobos and Deimos, they are small and irregularly shaped. These could be captured asteroids, similar to 5261 Eureka, a Martian Trojan.

Physically, Mars is about half the diameter of Earth, and its area is only slightly smaller than the total area of ​​Earth’s dry land. Mars is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth’s volume and 11% of Earth’s mass, resulting in about 38% of Earth’s surface gravity. Studies have revealed that the reddish-orange appearance of the Martian surface is caused by iron(III) oxide.

The space station is also advancing our understanding of how the body changes in space and how to protect the health of astronauts. Is the mission of man to Mars possible?

(To be continued next week)

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