Current And Future Planetary Missions Essay

828 words - 3 pages

Current and Future Planetary MissionsMarsOver the years there have been many missions to Mars, some were very successful, while others were not. All of these missions have been for the purpose of photographing the planet, and bringing back as much new information as possible on every aspect of the planet. Over the years these missions have evolved from simply flying by the planet and taking pictures to actually landing on the surface and deploying mobile units which can better analyze the surface. Astronomers are already hard at work on future missions to mars which include studying the geology of mars, and possibly bringing back samples to be analyzed here on earth. Looking back on past missions, Mars is indeed very interesting to study, and it is very intriguing to look at future missions which are planned in terms of what we may discover.Some of the current missions to Mars include Phoenix, a robotic spacecraft on a space exploration mission. The scientists conducting the mission will use instruments aboard the Phoenix lander to search for environments suitable for microbial life on Mars, and to research the history of water on Mars. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will attempt to bridge the gap between surface observations and measurements taken from orbit. It will focus on analyzing the Martian surface at new scales in an effort to follow the tantalizing hints of water from the Mars Global Surveyor images. The Mars Exploration Rover which includes Spirit and Opportunity rovers. The two rovers landed on opposite sides of the planet and both have continued to function over thirteen times longer than NASA had predicted. Their mission is still going, allowing the rovers to continue its study on Martian rocks and the geological features of Mars.Mars- Beyond 2009Mars Sample Return is perhaps the most innovative and hands-on approach of learning more about the red planet. The Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration (COMPLEX) has issued a multitude of robotic mechanisms which would actually collect samples from Mars and return it to Earth, thus clarifying whether or not life has ever existed on Mars, and whether life on Mars is a possibility. While current dates are set to have the first mission depart on 2014, technology has significantly shortened the wait to a minimum year of 2011.VenusVenus is earth's second closest planet besides Mars. There have not been any planetary missions to Venus since 1990. NASA's Magellan Orbiter reached Venus in August of 1990. During the following four years the...

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