The NASA Curiosity rover is due to land on the Martian surface and bring us many new images of the Martian surface. This craft is travelling at over 13,000 Miles an hour and it needs to be able to slow down to a full stop before it creates a new crater on the dusty Martian surface. As you can see in the attached picture, the rover is suspended underneath a sky-crane device instead of a parachute. The sky-crane uses thrusters to slow the descent. These are known as retro rockets. This is how the rover will survive the drop from space to the surface of Mars in seven minutes. The incredible thing is that NASA could hit such a small target so far away and manage to reach the planet with a perfect heading. Hopefully we will have another rover heading around the surface of Mars looking for any evidence of extraterrestrial life. We need more exploration of space, not less that is an important scientific endeavour that will benefit all the people on Earth. Although I would prefer to visit Jupiter and Saturn if I had an opportunity to go into space and visit any planet. Visiting Pluto would be interesting, but we already have a probe headed there as well.
The surface of Pluto is -233 degrees Celsius, making it unlikely that any life could exist there. I read a science-fiction short story about Pluto that had robotic lifeforms living on the surface that had Helium 3 blood. But they could only move around at night, when the Sun came up they would stop moving until nightfall. That could happen, there are strange lifeforms on Earth, so it stands to reason that outer space could have many strange lifeforms that are different to anything you see on Star Trek. Why are all of the alien races humanoid and have two legs and two arms? It is rare that there are other lifeforms with a different physiology. Another question I must ask is on Tatooine, how is the atmosphere maintained when there are no trees or even grass anywhere? There must be massive areas underground that have water and countless algae beds. As well as many other growths that take in CO2 and breathe out O2. That is one possibility, I know that Tatooine is a made up planet and I am overanalysing a classic movie, but that is strange. Mars had running water on the surface once a long time ago and if we warmed up the planet with the application of heat to the poles it could be a blue mars again.
Then the Kim Stanley Robinson book could come true. Everyone is fascinated with the Olympics, but we need a balance, and stories like this are a good alternative if you are not into sport. Here is hoping that the brave rover can make it safely to the surface and fulfil its mission objectives perfectly. We need to know more about Mars before we plan any manned mission. A manned mission would cost a massive amount though, you would need to send some parts in advance, then the crew that actually landed on the surface would already have supplies ready to use. This is what they did in the movie Red Planet. Such an undertaking is possible, but you would require quality shielding for the crew on such a long journey, unless you could teleport to Mars. Then you would only need a packed lunch and an inflatable tent with an airlock that you put up, so that you can sleep and eat while on the surface.