Coming soon to a planet near you

Space has always been something of a mystery to people. Planets have, until recently, only been able to be seen through an earthbound lens. Developments in science over the last several decades, however, have landed man on the Moon and a rover on Mars. In keeping with this trend, we hope the time isn’t too far from now when people will have first-hand experience with these planets we have only seen through a lens.

Graphic by Samantha Rorke.
An all new Mars coming soon. Graphic by Samantha Rorke.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (more commonly recognized as NASA) was founded in 1958 in the U.S. NASA has launched over a hundred successful manned launches, one of the most recent being the mission to Mars. The unmanned voyage was planned in 1992 and eventually launched in March 2009. The spacecraft landed in 2011 and the Mars rover became an Internet sensation for about a week.

NASA has announced another mission to Mars with the partnership of France’s space program, the CNES. These two collaborating organizations will also receive help from several other programs including Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The program is named InSight. This is possibly meant to allude to the amount of insight into the scientific field this mission intends to bring home to Earth. The plan for the two programs is to have the spacecraft built and ready to launch by 2016. From launch, the mission is expected to only take six months to reach Mars.

According to NASA’s website, the program will aim for collecting as much information as possible from the soil and the atmosphere, giving an “insight” into the possible origins of certain formations on earth. The mission will also bring a load of new pictures from the surface of Mars, as well as the possibilities of a greater understanding of the position of the Milky Way in relation to the rest of the universe.

Whatever the programs will learn, it will be a great leap into the future as far as the field of space travel goes. Who knows, maybe within your lifetime there will be day trips to the moon or vacations on Mars for the week.