Mars 2 is an exciting mix of science, fact and faction

 

In November National Geographic brings out season 2 of Mars and follows a crew of humans who settle on the “Red Planet”.

 

Mars pic

 

It’s the year 2042 and the first colony on Mars, Olympus Town, is up and running. Life in the town appears pretty much the same as on Earth, but “everyday” events more than 54 million km from Earth are far from ordinary!

 

Mars pic

 

The Mars project is incredibly expensive and the International Mars Science Foundation (IMSF), which sent the first crew to the planet, is unable to pay for everything. So the first big business arrives – a mining company called Lukrum Industries. It’s not long before things get tense. Scientists searching for new life clash with Lukrum’s miners and then the first natural disaster rocks the colony.
Still, on the bright side, the first Martian baby is born…

 

How much do you know about the real “Red Planet”?

 

Angry old names!

To ancient peoples, the most striking thing about Mars was its colour, caused by the iron-rich soil. Egyptian priests called it “Her Desher”, which means “The Red One”. The fiery tint reminded other civilisations of blood and war. The ancient
Greeks called the planet Ares after their god of war, and the Romans did the same, naming it Mars. The planet’s two moons were discovered in 1877 by astronomer Asaph Hall. He named them Phobos and Deimos (Latin for “fear” and
“panic”) after the horses that pulled the god’s chariot!

 

Mars pic

 

Time and place 

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, and the second smallest in our solar system. Its diameter of 6 779 km is just over half of Earth’s. Because of the way
both planets orbit around the Sun, the best time for travelling to Mars comes every two years, when Mars and Earth are nearest each other – on 31 July this year, the planets were “just” 57,6 million km apart! Amazingly, a year on Mars lasts 687 Earth days and a day on the red planet is 37 minutes longer than one on Earth!

 

Mega missions!

There were 23 missions to Mars in the 1960s and 1970s – the first spacecraft to
land on the planet was NASA’s Viking 1 lander in July 1976. Ten spacecraft have
been launched to the planet since 2000 – the Mars rover Opportunity, which landed in January 2004, is still exploring the planet! NASA is planning an “Earth-independent” colony on the planet by the 2030s. And the race is on! A separate project, called MarsOne, is aiming to create a colony on Mars in the next ten years! Just 24 of the 202 000 people who applied will be selected for the Mars One
mission. Wow!

MARS 2 starts on Sunday 11 November at 8 p.m. Available on DSTV (channel 181) Black (channel 261) StarSat (channel 220)

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