The huge number of attempted Mars missions may seem surprising, especially since many of our solar system's other planets and moons remain relatively unstudied. But the Red Planet keeps calling us back — and for good reason, experts say.
"Mars is such a compelling scientific target," said Scott Hubbard of Stanford University, the former "Mars Czar" who restructured NASA's Red Planet program after it suffered several high-profile failures in the late 1990s.
"You can get to it every 26 months, and it's the place in the solar system most likely to have had life emerge," Hubbard told SPACE.com. "If you add that to Mars being also the most logical ultimate target for human exploration, I think that Mars will continue to be part of the space exploration portfolio."
Mars' position in solar system
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