Many spacecraft have died trying to get to Mars. NASA astronaut Rex Walheim, one of the crew members onboard the final space shuttle mission, says sending humans to the Red Planet is necessary to determine whether there has ever been life on Mars. “We want this to be in the hands of the students to inspire that sense that we can make it to Mars, and hopefully some of them decide to become scientists themselves and try to elaborate on these concepts.” But, we won’t know if a permanent presence is possible until we try. Every single module has info about the systems NASA is working on,” he notes. We want to go there to see if we can find evidence of life, a second genesis, and if we don’t find it, we want to establish new life on Mars—our own.

Mars has water, an atmosphere, and other resources that should allow us to live off the land. The current record for Mars missions is 18 successes, and 25 failures. The InSight mission hopes to improve the odds. The Mars Exploration Program studies Mars as a planetary system in order to understand the formation and early evolution of Mars as a planet, the history of geological processes that have shaped Mars through time, the potential for Mars to have hosted life, and the future exploration of Mars by humans. “We see this as an educational experience.