Why is Mars so important for humanity?

We have a love and fear relationship with Mars. Image: REUTERS/NASA/Greg Shirah

Paulo de Souza
Science Leader - Cybernetics, CSIRO
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Giovanni Schiaparelli’s map of Mars, compiled over the period 1877-1886
Image: NASA/Flammarion, La Planète Mars
Mariner 4 takes the first close-up image ever taken of Mars
Image: NASA
NASA’s Viking 1 Orbiter spacecraft photographed this region in the northern latitudes of Mars on July 25, 1976 while searching for a landing site for the Viking 2 Lander. The eroded rock resembles a human face near the centre of the image.
This colour image of the Martian surface was taken by Viking Lander 1, looking southwest, about 15 minutes before sunset
A 4.5 billion-year-old rock, labeled meteorite ALH84001, identified from Mars.
Image: NASA/JSC/Stanford University
This high-resolution scanning electron microscope image shows an unusual tube-like structural form that is less than 1/100th the width of a human hair in size found in meteorite ALH84001.
Image: NASA
Have you read?
 NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity catches its own late-afternoon shadow in this dramatically lit view eastward across Endeavour Crater on Mars.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/Arizona State Univ.
A thin layer of water frost is visible on the ground around NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander.
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
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