NASA and its partners have set a goal to put humans on Mars. Leading scientists, engineers, and innovators are pioneering the research and development of space technology to make that dream a reality.

These thinkers need to design, develop, and build a viable human outpost on another planet. The spaceship will need to land safely, be reused, and function, at least temporarily, as a basecamp. Scientists must devise a method for astronauts to obtain breathable air and drinkable water, and engineers must establish a reliable source of power for the first settlement on Mars. 

While a journey to explore Mars is perilous, many feel the benefits to humanity outweigh the risks.

  1. Why can you not live on Mars in a spaceship for a long period of time?
    • Answer

      Cosmic radiation, which is bad for human health, will eventually penetrate the hull of the spacecraft.

  2. Name three things the first pioneers will need to survive on the Martian surface.

    • Answer

      Astronauts on Mars will need a renewable supply of oxygen, water, power, and food in addition to a place to live in order to survive in the harsh Martian environment. 

  3. Why would a basecamp on Mars need to be self-sustaining?

    • Answer

      Answers will vary! Responses may include:

      • Mars and Earth are, on average, 225 million kilometers (155 million miles) apart. Supplies from Earth would take a long time (approximately nine months) to arrive.
      • Spacecraft traveling between Mars and Earth would have a limited amount of storage space for supplies.

astronaut
Noun

person who takes part in space flights.

engineer
Noun

person who plans the building of things, such as structures (construction engineer) or substances (chemical engineer).

humanity
Noun

condition of being human, including the study of art, literature, philosophy, and the sciences.

journey
Noun

voyage or trip.

Mars
Noun

fourth planet from the sun, between Earth and Jupiter.

NASA
Noun

(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) the U.S. space agency, whose mission statement is "To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind."

outpost
Noun

settlement or station located in a remote area.

oxygen
Noun

chemical element with the symbol O, whose gas form is 21% of the Earth's atmosphere.

perilous
Adjective

dangerous.

Noun

large, spherical celestial body that regularly rotates around a star.

research
Noun

scientific observations and investigation into a subject, usually following the scientific method: observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation, analysis, and conclusion.

scientist
Noun

person who studies a specific type of knowledge using the scientific method.

settlement
Noun

community or village.

technology
Noun

the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.