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The Race to Mars

According to this article, a NASA rover named Curiosity is scheduled to launch this Saturday from the US towards Mars, potentially racing Russia’s spacecraft which is currently stuck in the Earth’s orbit.  If the Russian mission is saved, both the US’s and Russia’s crafts will leave the Earth’s orbit at the same time, traveling the same speed towards the red planet.  Both countries face a great challenge, as the difficult road to Mars has been attempted before without success.  Russia in particular has a very treacherous road ahead of it, as it has had eighteen failed missions to Mars since 1960.  The last successful interplanetary mission was fifteen years ago, and in between then and the present, much has changed and grown in terms of technology.  The possibilities of achieving the mission are still slim, however, and  the potential loss for Russia,  while a victory for the US, could be a great failure for science.  There is fear that if the craft does fail, it will plummet back down to Earth between this December and February.  The craft is carrying toxic fuel and radioactive material, and the site of the crash cannot be predicted until one day before it lands.

Do you think the possibility of this danger is worth the exploration to Mars?  Do you think that the US will succeed in its mission?  On a less related note, have you always found space fascinating and did you ever want to be an astronaut?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I think the exploration to Mars is worth the risk because exploration of the planets has been neglected over the past decade and it is something that brings great excitement and enlightenment on a universe we relatively know little about. Moreover, even if the craft falls to earth the chances that it crashes into a habitable area are very low. The earth’s surface is covered by approximately 71% water, after all.

    Based on the data and all of the other failed missions, it looks as if this mission would be very hard to complete. Having said this, each time a failed mission occurs scientists and team members learn from those snafus and try to create a successful mission. I still think it’s very complicated though and might not be feasible once again.

    I never wanted to be an astronaut because when I saw Apollo 13 it really freaked me out. Seeing those guys stuck up there definitely turned me off to being an astronaut. I always thought it would be cool though to stand on the moon and look back at earth as a whole entity.

  2. December 5, 2011 at 12:49 am

    I always wanted to be an astronaut when i was younger. It didnt matter about the danger, I wanted to go where no one else had been before. I dreamed of being part of the human expedition of mars untill the idea of that was shut down when NASA’s space program ended, but the idea of what could be on Mars still fascinates me. I do believe that Mars is worth exploring because we now have the technology to. We really don’t know that much about the other planets in our solar system and it would be good for science to learn more about the planet right next to us. The Russian craft is not a serious threat yet, and even if it can’t get fixed the chances of it hitting land over sea is very small, and a large amount of people is even smaller. I believe that the mission is possible, and I believe that its worth the risk to explore the un-explored

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