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MLA Full: "Should We Go to Mars?" YouTube, uploaded by SciShow Kids, 13 February 2018,
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Jessi and Squeaks love pretending to be space explorers, visiting far-away planets! Did you know that, right now, there are scientists working on ways to send people to other planets in real life? And where better to start than our closest neighbor, Mars?!
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Squeaks and I love exploring! We go exploring in our neighborhood, and we see what we can discover in nature around the Fort.

And sometimes we pretend we’re going exploring in outer space! [Squeaks squeaks]. Oh, what’s that, Squeaks? You think we should go to Mars?

OK, we’ll do that next! And maybe someday people will go to Mars in real life, too! Since before you and I were born, people have loved to talk about rocketing into space and exploring Mars.

There are eight planets moving around the Sun, including Earth, and Mars is our neighbor - the next planet after Earth in the Solar System. And it’s the friendliest neighbor we have. In many ways, Mars is actually a lot like Earth.

The length of a day on Mars is just over 24 hours — very close to how long a day is on Earth. It also has seasons like Earth, which not all planets do! But Mars is also very different from Earth in some ways, which is why it would be so hard for people to visit.

One big problem is that there isn’t enough air on Mars to breathe without a spacesuit! Mars is also very cold and dry, since it’s much farther from the Sun. It’s so cold most of the time that its water is almost all frozen into ice, and it’s buried beneath the surface of the planet.

Another problem is that even though Mars is our neighbor, it’s still a long way from. Earth. Mars goes around the Sun a little slower than Earth, which means the planets don’t usually line up.

Sometimes Earth can be on one side of the Sun while Mars is all the way on the opposite side! So if we wanted to take a trip to Mars, first we’d have to wait until the planets got close to each other, and that only happens about once every two years. But even then, it would take seven whole months to get there.

That’s a long time for astronauts to be traveling through space, and scientists are still figuring out how to keep them healthy when they’re floating in space for so long. Once we got to Mars, we would need to eat and breathe, just like we do on Earth. But since we can’t breathe the air and there are no plants or animals to eat, we’d have to bring our own air and food, or figure out how to make them out of Mars’s soil and ice.

Hmmm. Maybe we’d be better off not going to Mars, and putting all that energy into making the. Earth a better place to live.

Or, before we send human explorers over, we can keep learning about Mars and figure out whether it’s possible to live there. We’ve been studying Mars for a long time, because even though humans haven’t visited yet, we have sent machines to explore for us, starting more than fifty years ago! Spaceships without people on them have flown by the planet to study it, and special types of robots have even landed on it! [Squeaks squeaks].

No, not robot rats, Squeaks. They’re a kind of robot designed to land on Mars and explore it, called a rover. We’ve got two rovers still exploring Mars right now, named Opportunity and Curiosity.

To explore Mars, the rovers use a special design called the rocker-bogie system! Isn't that a great name?! [Squeaks squeaks]. I know, Squeaks!

I love saying it, too. Rocker-bogie system! With this system, the Mars rovers have six wheels, and each wheel has its own motor powering it.

That helps the rover climb over rocks and steep hills, and to keep its body level so it doesn’t tip over or get damaged. This way, the rovers can keep exploring, and keep sending information back to us on Earth. The next rover to Mars is set to leave Earth in 2020 – just a couple of years from now.

And in the meantime, we’re planning to launch a lander this year! That’s kind of like a rover, except it can’t move around after it lands, so it studies the planet while staying put. Some scientists are also trying to send people to Mars eventually, but it’s going to take a lot of work — and a lot of time — before we’re ready to do that.

Probably more than 10, or even 20 years, at the very least. It’s much easier to send robots to Mars than it is to send humans, since robots don’t have to breathe or eat. But robots work very slowly, and they can’t do so many scientific tests by themselves.

Even though it would be a lot of work, there’s so much more that we could discover if we send people to explore! And who knows? If the first astronauts to explore Mars take off in twenty years… maybe you’ll be on that first flight!

I guess it’s going to be a while before we can explore Mars, Squeaks. But there’s still so much to explore right here on Earth! Do you think we should send people to Mars?

Would you like to go there yourself? Ask a grown-up to help you leave a comment below, or send us an email at Thanks, and we’ll see you next time, here at the fort! ♪Outro♪.