This is how we'll get to Mars
Ever since the dawn of science fiction we’ve been fascinated by Mars. Our planetary neighbour has been the subject of some of the greatest space stories in history, from the invasion of Martians in The War of the Worlds to humans going the other way in The Martian.
Now, after more than a century of dreaming about the Red Planet, developing scientific breakthroughs, and researching its potential for exploration and sustaining life, we’re ready to go. Well, nearly.
Earlier this year, NASA released a progress report on its plans for deep space exploration, including a mission to Mars, while US president Donald Trump pledged $19.1 billion in funding to help NASA get to Mars.
And getting there is about more than simply staking a claim on Mars and fulfilling our sci-fi-fuelled dreams. Many experts believe that if we don’t start looking for other locations within our solar system to mine resources, or even live, the human race is on borrowed time.
This sense of urgency has been fueled by prominent figures like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking. At a press conference in Norway earlier this year Hawking said: “I strongly believe we should start seeking alternative planets for possible habitation […] We are running out of space on Earth, and we need to break through the technical limitations preventing us living elsewhere in the universe.”