The last 12 months have been a big year for space enthusiasts. The Mars Rover celebrated its two year anniversary, NASA discovered that Jupiter’s moon has more water than Earth, and the New Horizons project—NASA’s first mission to study Pluto and its longest spacecraft journey—is set to complete in July of this year!

Earlier this week, Mars One, the organization that claimed it wanted to put a colony of people on Mars, came under scrutiny. The original concept was to have an open call for candidates to be part of the inaugural human trip to Mars. However, in a recent interview with Medium, one candidate revealed how the plan was more of a scheme. To be fair, I want to believe the company had good intentions and actually had an interest in going to Mars and just grossly underestimated the cost. My fear is that, due to this poor press, Mars will get a bad reputation instead of the company.

But we can’t get discouraged. Aspiring to travel to Mars encourages people to keep dreaming and to literally reach for the stars.

There still is public interest in Mars, and NASA even received a larger budget than requested this year. Don’t forget, NASA is planning to send people to Mars in the 2030s.

journey_to_mars

Earlier this week, a real life astronaut and national hero: Buzz Aldrin, took the photo below at Stonehenge. He often sports the shirt in public and is known to have a good sense of humor.

Currently, I am reading The Martian (a great read for teens and adults), a story set in the (hopefully) near future about an expedition to Mars that unfortunately goes awry. The book is science fiction, but the author, Andy Weir, put an extraordinary amount of detail into making the book as “factual” as possible. This book is being made into a film and is slated to release sometime in 2015. This, along with other films like Interstellar, will bolster our interest and keep kids and adults alike interested in space.

Just because an organization is putting a bad spin on the effort to get to Mars, we shouldn’t be dissuaded. Space is endless and our motivation to explore it should be as well.

More books on surviving in extreme conditions:

Books on space:

  • Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  • Origins by Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose television show Star Talk premieres in April

Image – NASA

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