Mars Exploration Summary
by Michael Roberson, Alon Lagstein from Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas
The future of space exploration is ever changing because of the advancements in aerospace technology. Countries cooperating with the United States (as in the space station program), who would lead in space exploration, may make way for huge advancements and may make the reality of colonization much more probable. In this, money should be made and work should be done between countries to advance in aerospace technology and space exploration. To show what changes can be expected in the future of exploration with the cooperation between other countries and the United States, programs of other countries and continents will be examined. Those include involvement between the U.S. and Russia, foreign space programs and technology, and the outlook of exploration of Mars.
The United States is actively involved with the Russians in research and in companies. At the present time, U.S. astronauts are conducting missions with Russians in the Russian space station, Mir. Recently, Russia's number one manufacturer of liquid-fueled booster rockets, NPO Energomash, and a leading U.S. producer of space propulsion systems, Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion, announced today the formation of a new joint venture. Together, the companies will produce booster rocket engines to power rockets made by such companies as Lockheed.
The Japanese have launched communications satellites. Japan Satellite Systems Inc. of Tokyo has ordered a sixth communications satellite from
Hughes Space & Communications of Los Angeles. Another communications satellite of Japan is HALCA. One satellite now on the orbit was renamed as
"HALCA",which is acronym of "Highly Advanced Laboratory for
Communications and Astronomy". Japanese work and research may better communications for space missions, including the possible Mars mission
The European market for private business satellite communications systems grew at a brisk pace in 1996. The systems, which are known in the industry as Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), can provide telecommunications services that range from one-way data-only transmissions to two-way interactive video. One-way business television broadcasts used for corporate communications represented one of the strongest European VSAT markets last year, according to the most recent study by the consulting group Analysts of Cambridge, England, which publishes its studies three times a year. The moon landing was a very memorable piece of television history, but new technology from Europe, such as these VSATs, can provide better and more reliable video of missions to come.
Technology for communication and video of a possible Mars landing are clearly conceivable and have been for years. The real challenge lies in the actual journey to Mars. Not long ago, a trip to Mars seemed to difficult and expensive. Presently, we are not prepared for liftoff, but pioneering methods and technology have taken off a large degree of the difficulty.
One major problem was fuel. The journey to Mars takes about a year, as does the trip back. Before a new experimental method of making fuel from Martian resources, scientists saw no other option than to carry fuel for both directions of the trip. This is a new idea that is being tested in simulations on earth.
Martian expeditions of today focus on the search for possible life on the red planet. These are conducted through machines costing billions that merely collect samples. We disagree with spending so much money on these kinds of experiments. Probes take small samples that represent the entire planet. The chances of finding life this way are close to nothing. True, checks should be made to prevent astronauts from being infected by Martian life that may exist. Nonetheless, we think the focus should be on the Martian landing.
The cooperation between the United States and Russia, the technology of Japan, and the programs of Europe have been covered. As can be seen, different countries offer different advancements in technology. Both the Japanese and the Europeans have launched communications satellites, but of different types that can prove useful in a Martian landing. The Russians have rocket boosters as the U.S. has fuel and propulsion companies that can fuel the journey to Mars while Martian resources can fuel the return trip. No country has everything it needs. Therefore, money and work between countries and continents is necessary for advancement in space exploration.