In the early 1600s, a wondrous device was introduced in the Netherlands. It featured a tube with glass lenses at opposite ends and was designed for the purpose of making distant objects appear to be closer.
Much has been learned about the planet Mars since astronomers first began studying it with their telescopes. Some scientific findings proved to be factual, while others were found to be myths.
Long before the existence of spacecraft, people were dreaming about the day when exploring Mars would be possible. Even the most sophisticated, high-powered telescopes could not reveal close enough views of the red planet to thoroughly understand it.
The summer of 1976 marked the beginning of an exciting new dimension in Mars exploration: studying the planet from its surface rather than from above. On July 20, an American spacecraft called Viking 1 separated from its orbiter, parachuted down, and landed on Mars in an area known as Chryse Planitia.
In one paragraph, Zubrin explains why human exploration of Mars is such an important aspect of any future space exploration. Only humans have the ability to see, feel, and touch the red planet, ponder their surroundings, and draw conclusions based on their discoveries.