In the classic Ray Bradbury book, The Martian Chronicles, humans land on Mars only to discover it is already populated by Martians. Naturally, disaster ensues. In real life, NASA’s Mars mission – scheduled for the 2030s – is sure to be more successful.
In the past, Mars may have had conditions suitable for life (although none as complex as described in The Martian Chronicles) and NASA is hoping to uncover evidence of this, answering the age-old question “does life exist beyond Earth?”
Although 2030 may seem far away, NASA is already preparing for the mission. Three astronauts recently returned from 199 days in orbit on the International Space Station and NASA will be monitoring them to determine how the human body changes in space.
During their time in orbit, the astronauts conducted a number experiments that will advance the Mars mission and benefit those on Earth.
The Fluid Shifts experiment tests one theory to explain why more than half of astronauts experience changes in their vision. This experiment uses special pants to help pull fluids from an astronaut’s upper body to their legs – similar to the effect of gravity on Earth.
Drain Brain uses a neck collar to relieve pressure inside an astronaut’s head, which may help relieve headaches caused by lack of gravity.
The Capillary Beverage study, using an espresso machine, helps researchers better understand how fluids move in space.
A 3-D printer aboard the International Space Station created a wrench – the first object to be 3-D printed space.
To learn more about the Journey to Mars project, visit the NASA website and check out our Journey to Space IMAX® film opening June 13. This film, narrated by Patrick Stewart, explores the past and future of human space exploration, including the Mars program.