Sci-tech

Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

Mars making closest approach to Earth in 15 years

While this means visions of terraforming, like Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars trilogy, will likely remain fiction, it does not preclude the possibility of building a pressurized base on Mars. One way to give the atmosphere a boost is by releasing more Carbon dioxide and scientists know that there's some of that trapped in Martian ice and rock.

Transforming the inhospitable Martian environment into a place astronauts could explore without life support is not possible without technology well beyond today's capabilities, researchers said. At that time, the Sun, Earth and Mars fall in a straight line, with Mars and the Sun on "opposing" sides of Earth. These gases are called "greenhouse gases" for their ability to trap heat and warm the climate.

A map of the sky that shows Mars and Saturn, as they can be seen from NY on July 31 at 11 pm.

Part of the problem is Mars' atmosphere.

The researchers, from the University of Colorado Boulder and Northern Arizona University, looked at 20 years' worth of data about the Martian surface collected by various rovers and spacecrafts.

So despite the recent study suggesting humans will never be able to terraform Mars, fear not, because Elon Musk and SpaceX are still working hard to get us there by 2022.

Taken together, the results indicate that terraforming Mars can not be done with now available technology.

That would change if we could increase the pressure and temperature on Mars. To get water to sit on the surface and stay there would require a much thicker atmosphere than it now has.

A very thin atmosphere still exists around the planet, but it's less than one percent as dense as ours on Earth. KSSTM is planning viewing parties over the next five evenings using some of its more powerful telescopes so that the public can have "close contacts" with earth's neighbour, which, in fact, is quite a familiar planet thanks to the "Mangalyaan" programme of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The Red Planet is not going to be green anytime soon.

If people want to see Mars at that distance again, they will have to wait until 2287.

Dr Jakobsky from the University of Colorado who published a study on life on Mars has said: "Our results suggest that there is not enough Carbon dioxide remaining on Mars to provide significant greenhouse warming were the gas to be put into the atmosphere".

This week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced that the final frontier-focused team - which also includes experts in engineering, robotics, planetary science and other disciplines related to space architecture - is one of five groups sharing top honors in Level 1 of the final stage of the space agency's 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge competition.

But just in case you miss Mars Close Approach this year, the next one is scheduled to take place on October 6, 2020.

Another idea is to import volatiles by redirecting comets and asteroids to hit Mars.

SpaceX's images of the terraforming of Mars.