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Researchers Explore Where Humans Could Land On Mars

Astronauts who travel to the red planet will be there for months on end, so being near a water source is key.

2015 Mars Exploration Zones Workshop

 

Picture about a hundred researchers in an auditorium, combing over grainy pictures of the surface of Mars.

“First of all, Hale, which is right here, it’s on the rim of Argyre crater, so this was a significant stratigraphic event….”

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering what any of that means. So I asked Richard Davis, NASA’s assistant director for science and exploration, to break down the key findings.

“When humans get to mars, just like you’ve probably had multiple drinks of water, our guys when they get there are going to need lots of water,” Davis says. “Water’s kind of becoming the big story.”

Astronauts who travel to the red planet will be there for months on end, so being near a water source is key. Researchers at the conference identified 50 exploration zones, regions where humans could land and live. But Davis says they’ll need more lots unmanned missions before they can narrow down the options.

“We just don’t have a lot of data, so you really need to have creative and bright people helping with that problem from all these different disciplines and really from all these different perspectives to really hone a good answer,” he says.

By NASA’s own estimates, we can expect human missions to Mars in about 20 years.

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Tomeka Weatherspoon

Senior Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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