Special Report: Why Mars? Why Now?


It’s been 40 years since Apollo astronauts took humanity’s
first baby step into the cosmos. Now it’s time to take the next one.

Part I: Challenges

manned mission to marsFEATURE: Why a Manned Mission to Mars Seems as Far Away as Ever
Experts thought we’d be there by now. Here’s why we’re not. By Fred Guterl & Monica Heger

GRAPHIC: Mars missions from 1960 to present.

INTERACTIVE: Don’t want to go to Mars? Take an interactive tour of other destinations in the solar system.

FEATURE: Dava Newman’s sleek BioSuit could replace bulky Apollo-era space garb. By Monica Heger

SLIDE SHOW: The Evolution of the Space Suit

OPINION: The Kind of People Who Will Go to Mars By David A. Wolf
+ Podcast

SLIDE SHOW: Simulating Mars on Earth

PODCAST: Former NASA astronaut Robert Curbeam tells why he never worried about going into space.

OPINION: What to Pack for Mars
By Olivier L. de Weck

Part II: Business

f3FEATURE: Space Is a Risky Business
Why Mars is more important than cosmetics and why a failed launch is also a partial success. By Elon Musk
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SLIDE SHOW: Geeks in Space
They made their fortunes in engineering. Now they’re spending their money on space.

OPINION: The Investor’s Guide to Space: Why now is the right time to build your space portfolio. By Burton H. Lee

GRAPHIC: Space Is Big Business

INTERVIEW: Owen and Richard Garriott, the second father-and-son pair to have traveled in space, talk about life in orbit.
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+ Podcast: Part 1 Part 2

INTERVIEW: Tech guru Esther Dyson tells what it was like to train for a Soyuz ride.
+ Slide show

Part III: Voyage

rockets for the red planetFEATURE: Rockets for the Red Planet
Engineers rethink the technologies that will get people to Mars and back. By Sandra Upson
+ Slide show: A Trip to Ad Astra
+ Slide show: Propulsion Methods
+ Podcast

VIDEO: Spectrum goes to Texas and Costa Rica to see Ad Astra Rocket’s plasma thruster

FEATURE: How to Go to Mars—Right Now! Human exploration of Mars doesn’t need to wait for advanced rockets, giant spaceships, or lunar base stations. By Robert Zubrin
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Part IV: Strategy

d5FEATURE: Do We Need to Go to the Moon to Get to Mars?
There’s a palpable longing to return to the moon. But does it make sense?
By William Sweet

Q&A: Sir Martin Sweeting, founder of Surrey Satellite

Q&A: Jeremy Curtis of the British National Space Center

PODCAST: Lunar expert Bernard Foing

OPINION: Mining the Moon
How we can tap our nearest celestial neighbor for adventure and profit. By William Stone

FEATURE: One Team’s Plan to Land the Google Lunar X Prize
For this Carnegie Mellon robotics team, failure to launch—and land—is not an option. By Prachi Patel
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OPINION: How human spaceflight inspires future engineers. By Leah H. Jamieson with John Norberg


Part V: Exploration

mars for the rest of usFEATURE: Mars for the Rest of Us
Better cameras, greater bandwidth, and bigger displays put Mars within reach of armchair explorers.
By Joshua J. Romero

DIY: Projects for Armchair Astronauts Interested in participating in space? Here’s how.

VIDEO: Testing a Space Vacuum
Join Honeybee Robotics as it tests a pneumatic alternative to drills and scoops.

CULTURE: Top Mars Movies It’s a short list.
By Glenn Zorpette
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CULTURE: Kim Stanley Robinson’s 10 Favorite Mars Novels The renowned sci-fi writer reviews a century of Mars fiction.

OPINION: The End of the Cult of the Astronaut Why future space explorers will need to be excellent communicators. By David A. Mindell

SLIDE SHOW: Steve Squyres, the man behind the Mars rovers, explains how he got hooked on Mars and why humans must go.

Part VI: Space Ambitions

f7FEATURE: Could China Get to Mars First? Maybe—if it adopts a less topdown approach.
By James Oberg

FEATURE: Russia Plans to Revisit the Martian Moon Phobos A sample-return mission could reignite Russia’s deep-space program.
By Anatoly Zak

INTERVIEW: G. Madhavan Nair, head of the Indian space agency, talks about his country’s plans for the moon, Mars, and more.