Special Report: Why Mars? Why Now?

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
+ Podcast

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.
+ Slide show  
+ 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
+ Slide show

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
+ Slide show
+ Podcast

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
+ Slide show

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.