Mars exploration base, artwork

Mars exploration base, artwork

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Credit: ALENIA SPAZIO/EURELIOS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mars exploration base, artwork. The habitation modules are supporting a team of astronauts, who are using a rover (lower right) to explore the surface. A weather balloon (upper right) is being used to investigate the atmosphere. Humans will require protective suits and sealed buildings when living on Mars. This is because the thin atmosphere is nearly all carbon dioxide, and the surface temperature is freezing cold, ranging from minus 89 to minus 31 degrees Celsius. Mars has no surface water and is a rocky desert world with a gravity that is about a third of that on Earth. In 2004, NASA announced the Constellation Program, a US space program intended to put astronauts back on the Moon by 2020, followed by missions to Mars.

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