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Could we actually live on Mars? - Mari Foroutan

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There's a lot of talk these days about when and how we might all move to Mars. But what would it actually be like to live there? Mari Foroutan details the features of Mars that are remarkably similar to those of Earth — and those that can only be found on the red planet.

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Studying terrestrial analogues of morphological features on the Martian surface is one of the key approaches to getting information about Mars. Studying signatures of different conditions on the Martian surface will help us to figure out both the climate history and present conditions on Mars. Some features are common on both planets, but some features on Mars could be found in just a few spots on Earth, which makes specific characteristics of those locations worth precise study.

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 the 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 origins? 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 the best of our knowledge, Mars is the most Earth-like planet. Could it be the past or the future of our own Earth? 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. 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. There 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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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Mari Foroutan
  • Director Nick Hilditch
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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