Mars, named after the Roman god of war, is called the “Red Planet” because of the reddish color of the iron oxide on its surface. Among the planets of the solar system, the Red Planet, which ranks fourth based on its distance from the Sun, is the second smallest planet after Mercury.

THE RED PLANET: MARS

We can assume that people that will be living on Mars in the future won’t be a “stranger” to the length of days since a day on Earth is about 24 hours and a day on Mars lasts about 24 hours and 40 minutes. Mars revolves or orbits around the Sun once every 1.88 Earth years, or once every 686.93 Earth days.

It is thought that the rapid depletion of resources in the world will require the establishment of colonies in other planets in the future. Although the answer to the existence of life in space has not been given clearly, researches that use the limits of technology continue to take place. Dozens of exploration vehicles by Russia, the US, Europe, and India were sent to planet Mars, which is similar to Earth in many ways and is planned to be the ”New World” in the future. Especially NASA's recent work on the exploration of Mars revealed important new information.

Important spacecrafts sent to Mars by NASA:

• Mars was first visited in 1965 by a spacecraft named Mariner-4 sent by NASA.
• Another important step for exploration, other than the Mariner-4 which made a close fly-by to the planet, was the Viking-1 and Viking-2 vehicles that successfully landed on the planet's surface in 1975.
• The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which departed from Earth in November 1996, served until 2006 and sent detailed photos of Mars.
• The Pathfinder spacecraft, which was sent in 1997, was doing research together with the mobilized robotics vehicle "Sojourner" and discovered that Mars used to be a humid planet that had the liquid form of water and an intense atmosphere long time ago.
• More advanced robotic vehicles Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in 2004. They took microscopic photographs of rock and soil samples on the surface of Mars. Information about the chemistry and mineral structure of Mars was obtained by spectrometers.
• Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter attained orbit in March 2006. Photographs taken with a sensitive camera were used as scientific data and were used to make the following descent flights safely.
• In 2008, Phoenix landed in the Arctic, and found a layer of ice about 5 to 18 cm below the ground.
• In 2012, Curiosity explored the chemical structure of the rocks identified by NASA researchers with its laser and camera system. The detection of "hard" organic molecules in the 3 billion-year-old sedimentary rocks five centimeters below the surface and the presence of methane gas was an important milestone in the recognition of this planet. Astrobiologists stated that if there is evidence that life has emerged independently on Mars, it can be concluded that life in space is really widespread.
• On November 27, 2018, the entire scientific community turned its attention back to this planet with InSight Mars's announcement of a landing on Mars. InSight Mars, which will explore the formation and structure of the Red Planet; will undoubtedly gather very important information for manned flights planned to take place in the 2030s.

These vehicles represent the test units of the real vehicles at Mars. Photo taken at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

MARS MEETS STUDENTS AT THE “GENERATION MARS INTERACTIVE EXHIBIT”

Because Mars is getting more and more attention on the agenda of technology every passing day and is now considered as our “future home”, it is discussed in detail throughout Space Camp Türkiye’s programs. A special area with detailed information about Mars was constructed at the camp.

While designing the Generation Mars Interactive Exhibit; construction of infrastructure and pre-positioning of the materials required for astronauts and robots in order to make Mars safer and more livable was discussed and the Journey to Mars program, which will introduce the future technology to children, was created on this basis.

During the 2-day program, which is planned for the 10-13 age group, students receive training by using the Generation Mars Interactive Exhibit which was opened on the 24th of October, 2018.

Generation Mars Interactive Exhibit Grand Opening: Mars Rover, solar panels, hydroponics unit, research and supply modules.

During the Journey to Mars Program, such topics as;

• Can Mars support life?
• What are the environmental differences between Earth and Mars?
• How should the environmental conditions on Mars change in order to support human settlements?

are being discussed.

Another point that makes this exhibit special is the short film about “Life on Mars” which is written by Space Camp Türkiye’s very own staff and projected with the help of 3D video mapping technology.

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