NASA has recently gone all gung ho with plans to examine, terraform and eventually
massacre populate our solar system’s much publicised and enigmatic red rock, the planet Mars.
In an attempt to gain the support and interest of today’s youth, as well as the media, NASA have resorted to using social media to reach the masses. As a result, a variety of Twitter accounts now exist so one can follow the journey of astronauts in space, the launching of new rockets and satellites, and be privy to the latest discoveries and developments regarding the deepest reaches of space.
In an added attempt to further spur interest in this newest of space races, NASA are giving individuals the option to add their names to a list that will be placed on a chip and sent off to Mars on NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Rover in 2011. In other words, this is your infinitesimally small chance of being discovered by aliens and
inviting yourself to be anal probed becoming a part of human space exploration history. Besides, registering lets you download this “cool and ultra exclusive certificate”:
To add your name to the list and, as NASA likes to remind you, ‘become a part of history’ *rolls eyes*, click here.
To learn how to make a smashing ‘Little Green Man from Mars’, click here.
If you are curious to know more about the fourth planet from the Sun, read on, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. It is also referred to as the "Red Planet" because of its reddish appearance, due to iron oxide prevalent on its surface.
Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts and polar ice caps of Earth. It is the site of Olympus Mons, the highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, the largest canyon.
In addition to its geographical features, Mars’ rotational period and seasonal cycles are likewise similar to those of Earth.
Still, of all the planets in the Solar System other than Earth, Mars is the most likely to harbour liquid water, and perhaps life. Radar data from Mars Express and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed the presence of large quantities of water ice both at the poles (July 2005) and at mid-latitudes (November 2008). The Phoenix Mars Lander directly sampled water ice in shallow Martian soil on July 31, 2008.
Mars is currently host to three functional orbiting spacecraft: Mars Odyssey, Mars Express, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. With the exception of Earth, this is more than any planet in the Solar System. The surface is also home to the two Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) and several inert landers and rovers, both successful and unsuccessful. The Phoenix lander recently completed its mission on the surface. Geological evidence gathered by these and preceding missions suggests that Mars previously had large-scale water coverage, while observations also indicate that small geyser-like water flows have occurred during the past decade. Observations by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor show evidence that parts of the southern polar ice cap have been receding.
Mars can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. Its apparent magnitude reaches −2.9, a brightness surpassed only by Venus, the Moon, and the Sun, although most of the time Jupiter will appear brighter to the naked eye than Mars.