The National Space Agency (NASA) is planning to send humans to Mars in the next 20 years.
In preparation for the first manned mission on the red planet, the agency will be holding a workshop in Texas this October to discuss the 100-kilometer-wide “exploration zones” that can potentially be used as landing sites.
Although the actual mission won’t start until the mid-2030s, NASA would be studying the most promising exploration zones using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and Mars Odyssey spacecraft. The investigation of the red planet began in 2001 and 2006.
Currently, the MRO has only captured high-resolution images of 3% of the surface of the red planet.
According to experts, the possible landing sites must have enough resources such as water to support the astronauts. The site must also have subsurface ice so that human visitors can safely land and study the red planet. Once a landing site is chosen, the MRO and Mars Odyssey spacecraft will scan the areas from space.
In a statement, Alicia Jackson, Deputy Director of the new DARPA Biological Technologies Office said: “We have the technological toolkit to transform not just hostile places here on Earth, but to go into space not just to visit, but to stay.”
As of the moment, NASA is using two organisms for engineering biology in Mars to determine how to manipulate all organisms to survive and thrive in the red planet.
Water on Mars
Experts have discovered that water has been flowing in the red planet 500,000 years ago. The melting of snow and ice caused brief flow of water on the surface of Mars. Researchers believe that this was brought about by the tilting of the red planet hundreds of years ago and predict that the phenomenon will occur again in the next 140,000 years.