Earth To Mars

Clearly, it wasn't just Mars; other shiny orbs caught our eye — but somehow the Red Planet's pull was enduring. Proximity? Cosmic cousins tied by similarities not shared by other swirling rocks? That red color? Whatever, Mars fever began early on Earth.

Galileo was the first to observe Mars via telescope in 1609 AD but Aristotle described Mars in 300 BC, and it was known by the Egyptians as early as 1570 BC.

Through the centuries Mars fever kept escalating. 20th century technology gave us TV and movies of Martian/Earthling adventures; then possibilities for actual space exploration. Off we went, planting pieces of Earth — mementos and machinery — first on the moon, then on Mars.

Last month, The Martian and NASA's flowing-water find fueled our Red Planet fascination and Mars fever ramped-up. This month, NASA has new insight on its atmosphere. With technology that now makes it possible for astronauts and ordinary citizens to plan not just to get there, but to stay, it is unlikely to go away. 

In the 21st century, we intend to move beyond exploration, planting ourselves on Mars, to stay. Mars One sold the idea of colonizing Mars in the improbably near future, although astronauts have yet to set foot there. How soon will humans explore Mars, and can we actually live there?

With the help of our faculty experts, we take you into the heart of Mars Madness. 


all photos courtesy of NASA



We had to ask — it is the RED Planet. What would it be like to play football on Mars? How would TBDBITL sound? Could we watch on ESPN? Would Brutus’ costume catch fire? Planetarium Director Wayne Schlingman and Astrophysicist Paul Sutter tackle our queries.

Paul Sutter and Wayne Schlingman in Ohio State Planetarium


John Beacom

Astrophysicist JOHN BEACOM lives at the intersection of physics and astronomy where he tackles neutrinos, supernovae, gamma rays and dark matter. He frequently speaks and writes about these topics.  

Wendy Panero

Many undergraduates know Earth scientist WENDY PANERO best for her popular Planets course. Others recognize her important research centering on the cycling of water in planets.

Paul Sutter

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow PAUL SUTTER seeks secrets hidden in the Cosmic Microwave Background and Galaxy Cluster Magnetic Fields. Master of Social Media: "Ask a Spaceman" ; "Space in Your Face", he will go to Mars. 

Wayne Schlingman

Always reaching for the stars, Planetarium Director WAYNE SCHLINGMAN enchants thousands of folks across campus and central Ohio, showing them the astounding wonders in the heavens above. 


Exploration w/ Astrophysicist John Beacom

Exactly when will human eyes see Mars? Astrophysicist/CCAPP Director John Beacom sheds light:

Discovering Water w/ Earth Scientist Wendy Panero

Epic news, but what does it mean? Earth scientist Wendy Panero explains:

Colonization w/ Astrophysicist Paul Sutter

Are human colonies on Mars a reality? Astrophysicist Paul Sutter says, YES! 


Why do we have this burning love for Mars? Astronomer Wayne Schlingman dishes the Red Planet dirt.

Dean's Guest Blog: Paul Sutter

Dean's Guest Blog: Paul Sutter

THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES: The Intersection of Storytelling with Reality

From the Romans to the Hindus to the Mayans, ancient people have long associated Mars with war, strife and bad omens. And as soon as telescopic observations allowed us to draw roughly accurate maps of the Red Planet’s surface, we wondered if it harbored life — and if that life meant us harm. Instead of just heralding war, would that planet be a source of conflict or invasion?

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A History of Exploration

A History of Exploration



    First attempt at Mars flyby fails during launch from USSR

    Ascent 2010 Issue 1.


    First successful Mars flyby, Mariner 4, by USA



    USSR's Mars 3 achieves first landing. It lasted 14 seconds

    Ascent 2010 Issue 1.
    Ascent 2010 Issue 1.


    USA's Viking 1 Lander sends back first images from surface

    Ascent 2010 Issue 1.


    USA's Sojourner becomes first rover to roam the surface, operated remotely from Earth

    Ascent 2010 Issue 1.


    The Curiosity rover lands on Mars, still exploring today

    Ascent 2010 Issue 1.


    MAVEN, the latest mission to Mars, continues to orbit the Planet



    ExoMars, a planned European-led mission, will search for evidence of life



    Mangalyaan 2, a planned Mars mission of the Indian Space Agency



    Mars 2020, a new NASA rover to Mars



    Planned crewed-mission to Martian surface