We had a really interesting author event at VHOB this past Saturday. Pascal Lee, who is the co-founder and chairman of the Mars Institute, and who has a masters in geophysics and a PhD in astronomy and space sciences, wrote a children's book, Mission to Mars. Although the book is geared for children, it's equally interesting for adults. In fact, the adults (including me and about a dozen others) were mesmerized. Here are some random facts that Pascal told all of us:
1. There have been 7 unmanned landings on Mars. He said the surface is like what you would find in a desert. So far there has been no sign of life.
2. They are expecting to have the 1st manned flight to Mars in the decade of the 2030's.
3. The round trip, including time spent on the planet, will be 2.5 years (it's about 6 months one-way).
4. The crew will be 7-9 strong, including experts from different disciplines - doctor and dentist, among others. The mission has to be self-contained, for obvious reasons.
5. The age of the crew will vary from those in their 20's and 30's all the way up to some in their 60's and maybe even 70's, based on the expertise needed to be gone from Earth for 2.5 years.
6. The crew will wear blue spacesuits to contrast and stand out from the red soil of Mars.
7. The air is too thin to breathe without a spacesuit. In fact, you would tan 800X faster than being at a beach on Earth.
8. You have 6X less weight on the moon than on Earth and about 2X less weight on Mars.
9. If you drove your car at 70MPH to Mars, it would take you 431 years to get there.
As I said, random facts. There were many others, too. I can certainly tell you if you're looking for an "outer space" children's book for your kids, especially one with lots of scientific facts in it, get Mission to Mars by Pascal Lee. Your kids (and you) will love it.