Could we actually live on Mars? - Mari Foroutan
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Some features are unique only to Mars. Visit this site for some high resolution satellite images of Mars. Scientists use simulated environments for studying them. These types of facilities are so expensive that just a few research centers and universities in the world own them. Visit one facility, the Mars Desert Research Station in U.S. Then go to NASA's SAM Mars Chamber for another example, but on a smaller scale. They have the same gravity, temperature, pressure and atmosphere as Mars.
What else are we studying other than Mars and its origin? How about Martian geomorphology? By learning more about how landforms look and evolve on other planets, we learn a lot about processes that also occur here on Earth. For example, we could test ideas about how gravity or air density plays a role in forming the landscapes. In addition, the geomorphological study of potential landing sites on Mars is one of the important factors to consider for planning exploration missions for a number of reasons, including landing hazard assessment. Knowing Martian geomorphology would also help in determining proper areas for surface or sub-surface sampling.
To our best knowledge, Mars is the most Earth-like planet. Could it be the past or the future of our own Earth? We want to know the processes by which planets formed with the larger goal of revealing key questions about life and the potential habitability of other areas of our Solar System.
From early in human's history, Mars got more attention because of its apparent red color. There was a huge curiosity about the existence of life on the planet. By studying the features and decoding present landscapes of Mars scientists can reveal their history. This will give us valuable clues of existence of life on Mars.
Water is fundamental to life on Earth. Searching for evidence of water will make us closer to the answering the question: Did life exist on Mars? Many surface features seem to be the result of fluvial processes. There are many features that have been interpreted by researchers as a sign of existence of water flow on Mars. Watch: Channels in Phlegra Montes and see what you think. The shapes, compositions and locations of ancient river deposits tell us about geologic processes and climate evolution on Mars. With such information, we are able to decode habitable landscapes through time.
These explorations lead us to further questions: If there were rivers on Mars, why don't we have them today? Where is that water? Currently, the existence of water on Mars is impossible due to low temperature and atmosphere. They are several opinions about where the water went. Did it evaporate out into space? Is there a thick layer of dust protecting the ice? There are still several hypotheses that exist. Only by gaining more information about Mars year after year can we become closer to answering this question: Are we alone in this universe?
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