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Updated: Sep 14, 2022

The image shows the planet Mars, especially its equatorial region that is teared into a huge canyon called Vallis Marineris. The canyon looks like a crack on a freshly baked sourdough bread. On the left side, two massive but flat volcanos sit on Mars' surface.

Mars might have looked like Earth at one point, with rivers flowing in its canyons. We might never know if life ever existed on Mars, yet we are desperately attracted to Mars. After reaching the Moon, there are many ambitious projects to let humans walk on Mars. But is it realistic? Imagine a solar storm experienced on Earth. As Earth is protected by its atmosphere and magnetic field, we, as humans, are pretty safe on its surface. But Mars is not that lucky. It doesn’t have a magnetic field, in the same way as Earth has, and its atmosphere is much thinner. Therefore, its protection against harsh space weather is much worse. Being an astronaut on Mars’ surface will be very challenging! Even being a probe or a rover on Mars is not easy. The electronics has to be protected because charged particles can cause severe damage, such as shortcuts, false commands, or solar panel degradation. Radiation storm on the Sun could cause life threatening radiation sickness to the astronauts on Mars.

Learn more about Mars, the history and future of its exploration in our audio booklet. You will learn also about the challenges of exploring Mars in manned missions.

Listen to the audio

Audio booklet: Mars

Make tactile images

Tactile image: Space Weather

Tactile image: Sun

Print 3D models

3D model: Mars

3D model: Valles Marineris

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