June 29, 2016

"A number of different public and private organizations — from NASA, to the European Space Agency (ESA), to Elon Musk's ambitious company SpaceX — plan to launch missions to Mars in the near future."

Space.com: "I can just see each country trying to figure out what they can do that is going to really put them on the map," said Ben Clark, a senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in Boulder, Colorado. by Leonard David

'"That would be, of course, discovering life on Mars." (Clark has had a long association with Mars stemming back to the U.S. Viking lander missions in the 1970s.)

'Indeed, some nations may see Mars missions as a way to gain prominence on the global stage.

'"In my view, Mars draws interest both for its potential as an abode for Martian microbes and for humans, and also as a status symbol for emerging spacefaring nations," said Steven Ruff, associate research professor at the Mars Space Flight Facility in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University.'

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