Towards Mars – summary of the challenge
On 14 July 1965, the Mariner 4 probe put an end to centuries of speculation about the red planet: the photographs it transmitted depicted an inhospitable and hostile Mars, devoid of life. However, while the idea of strange green beings started to become blurry, a dream of even greater proportions was
born: walking on Mars.
During the first missions, the probes were only able to perform flyovers, as they tried to take as many photographs as possible as they passed by the planet. Technological advancements saw probes beginning to enter into orbit around Mars, enabling a more extended period of study.
The next step was a “Mars landing” on the surface. At present, it is not only possible to land artefacts on Mars, but they can move around on the surface of the planet for years.
The clear photographs from the Spirit and Opportunity vehicles allowed us to feel like we were there. Thanks to the Phoenix mission, we were able to descend several centimetres below the surface and the robot Curiosity - the heaviest human-made object successfully deposited on Mars! surface— shared with us its selfie.
Some people foresee sending the first manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030 decade, while other still consider this an impossible feat.