This week, a “robotic explorer” called MAVEN left Earth on its way to Mars.
It should get there next September. Mars is more than 700 million kilometres away.
The explorer is going to Mars to try to solve some of the planet’s mysteries.
For instance, why is Mars now a cold, dry planet when it started out warm and wet?
The Associated Press reports that “the early Martian atmosphere was thick enough to hold water and possibly support microbial (tiny) life.”
Scientists at NASA want to know what happened to change that.
MAVEN will spend about a year measuring the gases in the atmosphere around Mars. It will fly around Mars more than 125 kilometres above the planet’s surface.
The explorer has eight scientific devices on it.
The mission will cost more than $671-million.
NASA has another goal for Mars. They want to send humans to the planet.
They hope to be able to do that around the year 2030.
One of the earliest missions to Mars happened in 1964, when the Mariner 4 flew near the planet and brought Earthlings the first pictures of the surface of Mars.
By Kathleen Tilly
NASA wants to send humans to Mars around 2030. How might sending humans to Mars improve life on Earth? Do you think space travel is important? Why or Why not?
Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Over the year, TKN has written quite a bit about Mars. Read one of the following stories and think about the similarities and differences between the articles. How do the similarities give you a picture in your mind of what Mars is like? How do the differences challenge that image?
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).
Grammar Feature: Acronym
An acronym is often created when the letter of a series of words is taken and put together to create a new word. For example, the acronym, MAVEN, is short for “Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN.
NASA is another acronym in this article. What does it stand for?