A reluctant U.S. Congress might change its mind about sending humans to Mars, if Phoenix discovers organic matter, Planetary Society and Mars Society members hope (see believe).
In its NASA funding legislation, the Democrat-controlled body is seeking to bar any funds that might be spent on manned Mars missions. The Mars Society, meanwhile (which I joined for a year, because I had to have that membership card), is acknowledging this week its failure to capture the imaginations of many Americans. The organization plans to lobby Congress to support manned missions.
Will the Mars Phoenix Mission Clear the Way for Manned Missions? If organic compounds are present on Mars, they’re more likely to have been preserved in ice, which is why NASA targeted the Phoenix mission for the planet’s high northern plains, where they predicted about six inches of soft red soil should cover the ice so the digger shouldn’t have to probe too deeply.