History is replete with examples cataloguing the impact of the celestial sky on our civilisations, from engineering and science to literature, art and music.
The Red Planet has frequently taken center stage, driven by fantastical visions of Martians, manned outposts and more.
“Our quest to walk on Mars harks back to humanity’s compulsion to explore,” Kartik Kumar, an Aerospace Engineer working in Milan, Italy said.
Born in Bangalore, India and raised in The Netherlands, he was drawn to the stars from an early age. Armed with a telescope in his bedroom, he explored the Cosmos and pondered the infinite.
He says that this early childhood fascination with the skies above drove him towards a career of Science, Engineering and Exploration.
During his PhD, Kartik investigated the formation and evolution of planetary rings around the ice giant Uranus.
“Studying planetary rings gives us insight into processes that shaped our Solar System and ultimately the Earth,” he said.
Recently, Kartik’s attention shifted towards Mars. Understanding the history of the Red Planet helps to shed light on the processes that shape our own world.
Scientists and engineers all around the world are dedicated to the goal of developing technologies and processes to uncover its secrets.
Mars represents the next frontier for space exploration.
Not only will manned outposts on Mars enable us to safeguard human life in event of asteroid impacts on Earth, it will also give us the tools to start thinking about sending people further, to explore the depths of our Solar System.
Throughout history, men and women have sought to push the boundaries of human endurance and determination. This has taken us to the top of Mount Everest and the bottom of the Mariana Trench, and has also led to the remarkable achievement on July 20th, 1969, when we first stepped foot on the Moon.
The impetus to achieve our pursuit of the next summit is engrained in our very nature.
It is clear that the mission of landing people on Mars poses tremendous technical, psychological and ultimately human challenges.
Setting foot on Mars will mark an important milestone for humanity and will only be possible through creativity, perseverance and unity.
Earlier in the year, Kartik was selected as one of five new Analog Astronauts by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF; http://www.oewf.org/en), a not-for-profit, Citizen Science Organisation for space professionals and people with a passion for the Cosmos.
Given the complexity involved in executing a human mission to Mars, OeWF conducts Analog missions here on Earth.
Mars Analog research encompasses a fundamental effort to build the capabilities, capacity and understanding to conduct future human missions to the Red Planet.
In a nutshell, Mars Analog missions are geared towards generating a holistic understanding of the factors that will underpin the success of such endeavours, by developing key technologies, processes and workflows.
Kartik’s first deployment as Analog Astronaut came during the OeWF’s most recent Analog mission in the Austrian Alps: AMADEE-15 (http://www.oewf.org/en/portfolio/austria-amadee-15/).
In August 2015, the Austrian Space Forum and international partners conducted a two-week Mars simulation mission on a rock glacier in the Kaunertal, Austria.
Directed by a Mission Support Center in Innsbruck/Austria, a small field crew conducted experiments preparing for future human Mars missions in the fields of engineering, planetary surface operations, astrobiology and geosciences.
AMADEE-15 involved a large team of people from all walks of life, and a big contributor to the success of the mission was dedication of the people involved.
Kartik hopes that the OeWF’s work will continue to provide insights into the challenges and solutions for future human missions to Mars.
On a personal front, he would like to continue building the skillset to help materialise Man’s goal of setting foot on the Red Planet.
He is keen on sharing his experiences with others.
He has embarked upon a project to engage children and adolescents in this pursuit, with the vision of sharing tools and experiences to plant the seeds for grassroots initiatives that encourage the general public to marvel at the beauty of space.
Our Note: Kartik Kumar personifies human ambition over Mars with positive human traits of humility, anxiety to learn and pursue excellence in all endeavours. He is a nephew of the Editor of Indian Newslink and a family pride. The above article was supplied by Kartik’s Media Team.
- Kartik Kumar (left in spacesuit) with his team readying humankind for the Red Planet
- Mars marks the next frontier to space exploration- Kartik Kumar (right) with his colleague