After all the speculation by science fiction writers that Martians would invade the Earth, space scientists now proudly display the new "Earth Invades Mars!" posters that accompanied the landing of the Mars Pathfinder on the Fourth of July, 1997.
Mars, just another planet... right? Hardly. Scientists have long considered Mars to be the only other planet which could support life. The fascination blossomed with fictitious stories by H. G. Wells and Ray Bradbury. Americans feared for decades that our world would be invaded by aliens. Instead, we were the first known life forms to invade another planet, sending robotic probes to Mars and even humans to the Moon.
What have scientists learned from all of this research? We still don't know much about our infinite universe. NASA and the Soviet Union have devoted over thirty years and billions of dollars to robotic exploration of the rusty red planet. They have studied soil samples and atmospheric readings, and they have learned that Mars is not a place on which humans could survive unaided. Will humans ever land on Mars? Will we ever accomplish our dreams of a habitat on Mars?
Photo. Valles Marineris is the gigantic feature pictured in this mosaic of images from the Viking missions. A canyon recognizable from left to right and about half-way up in this photograph, the valley's expanse marks nearly 2500 miles of Martian terrain--a distance longer than that from the surface to the planet's center, long enough indeed to travel more than one-sixth of the distance around the Martian globe or to travel from coast to coast of the continental United States. Courtesy of NASA.
Mission to Mars. An educational site created for the ThinkQuest contest.