Seriously…do we have to rush to Mars??
Planet earth seems to offer so much more even after 5 billion years of an explored period.
Astrophysicist Prof Hawking suggests that humans must establish a base on the moon and colonize Mars within the next 40 years if we’re to avoid extinction from global warming or another catastrophe. “It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species,” Hawking said at a news conference in Hong Kong. “Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of. “We won’t find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system,” he added.
Here is an interesting article from http://www.popularmechanics.com telling us there is just so much more of an unexplored area while we are here on earth.
City At Sea: Plans for the World’s Largest Ship nearly a mile long and 25 stories high, Freedom will be the largest vessel to ever sail the seven seas.
Freedom will dwarf the Queen Elizabeth II and become a permanent home for 50,000 people. “Freedom will be large enough to bring on more than 50,000 residents, 15,000 employees, 20,000 day guests and still have four times as much roaming-around square footage per person as the most modern cruise liners,” Nixon says during POPULAR MECHANICS’ visit to see how his ambitious plan is progressing.
Taller than the highest buildings in most American cities and topped with a runway that can handle jets, Freedom may someday be the globe-trotting address for 17,000 homes and 4000 businesses. Its dimensions are so colossal that it will have to be assembled at sea. Once it’s built, Freedom will circle the earth every two years, following the balmy breezes as it approaches the world’s major ports. The wealthiest of her “citizens” will leave their 15-ft. by 80-ft. ocean-view apartments and board their private jets or yachts for jaunts to shore. Meanwhile, the 15,000 people who work aboard the ship will gear up for the next on-rush of day visitors anxious to shop at its duty-free stores and guests checking in to vacation in its hotels and time-share condominiums.
Once under way, life aboard Freedom will be more like living in a bustling city than being on a vacation cruise. Because of its size, the ship will have its own railway system. Courtyards set about its decks will create interior park and recreation areas. Nixon has calculated that the resident population can support its own local economy, which means that residents will, in many cases, also be operating businesses at sea, in malls throughout the length of the ship.
As might be expected, this plan for a ship capable of carrying as many as 115,000 people The reason is not simply a matter of Freedom‘s proposed 4320-ft. length, which is nearly five times that of the currently largest cruise ship, Carnival Cruise Line’s 900-ft. Destiny , but the enormity of its mass. When naval architects compare ships, they speak in terms of tonnage rather than length. The Destiny displaces 100,000 tons of water. The largest vessel afloat, the supertanker Jahre Viking, displaces 564,739 tons. Freedom will displace 2.7 million tons.
NASA sees evidence suggesting liquid water on Mars (Reuters) 6 December 2006
Signs of liquid water add to “Life on Mars” debate (AFP) 7 December 2006
NASA experts said on Wednesday they have detected evidence that liquid water existed on the surface of Mars in recent years, giving weight to hopes that signs of life on the Red Planet could still be found. An orbiter going around Mars has photographed gullies, which indicated that water had flowed there in the past decade. The finger-shaped gullies are each several hundred meters (yards) long. They are “what you would expect to see if the material were carried by flowing water,” according to Michael Malin, the lead researcher in the study of pictures taken by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars Global Surveyor in 2004 and 2005.
Stargazers have long wondered whether there has been life on Mars, and the presence of liquid water is considered essential for it. A study of the evidence of water on Mars is to be published in the December 8 edition of Science magazine. The Mars Global Surveyor orbiter has taken 240,000 pictures of the surface of Mars since 1997. The space agency has not been able to contact the orbiter since November, however, the pictures included thousands of small gullies. But in 2005 the orbiter detected two new gullies that had not existed when the region had previously been photographed.
Previous research has shown that Mars was once warm and humid and that there is still some ice underground at the polar extremes. They said in the Science article that their research had concluded “it is possible for liquid water to exist beneath the ground and come to the surface under modern Martian conditions.” NASA experts and others want to carry out new experiments to advance the hunt for water and life on the planet, but they warned Wednesday that the number of asteroids that have collided with Mars would be a major obstacle to a manned mission to the planet.
NASA sees evidence suggesting liquid water on Mars (Reuters), 6 December 2006
WASHINGTON – Images taken by NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft suggest the presence of liquid water on the Martian surface, a tantalizing find for scientists wondering if the Red Planet ever has harbored life.
The orbiting US spacecraft allowed scientists to detect changes in the walls of two Martian craters that may have been caused by the recent flow of water, a team of researchers said in a paper appearing on Wednesday in the journal Science. Scientists previously had established that two forms of water — ice at the poles and water vapor — exist on Mars, but liquid water is crucial to nurture life.”
The scientists compared images of the Martian surface taken seven years apart and found the existence of 20 newly formed craters caused by impact from space debris as well as the evidence suggesting liquid water trickling down crater walls. “These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, said in a statement. Scientists long have wondered whether life ever existed on Mars. Liquid water is an important part of the equation. On Earth, all forms of life require water to survive.
“Among the planets in our solar system, only Earth has a more hospitable climate than Mars, and some scientists suspect Mars once sheltered primitive, bacteria-like organisms. “Previous missions found evidence that the Red Planet at one time boasted ample quantities of water, and the question is whether liquid water is still present. “As with many discoveries, the possibility that liquid water may be coming to the surface of Mars today poses many questions,” the scientists wrote. “Where is the water coming from? How is it being maintained in liquid form given the present and most likely past environments? How widespread is the water?” They also wondered whether the water could be used as a resource for future missions to explore Mars. The two sites are inside craters in the Terra Sirenum and the Centauri Montes regions of southern Mars.