This Week in Geographic History: Life on Mars

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We’re slowing down for the summer! Instead of our usual roundup of “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events, here’s a closer look at one historic event that connects to something in the news today. We’ve also matched it with a map or visual, background information, and additional resources.

Sunday, August 6

NGS Picture Id:2461600
This graphic shows what colonizing Mars might look like, complete with a map of the planet. Artwork by Stephan Martiniere, National Geographic.

TDIGH: NASA Provides Evidence for Possible Life on Mars

In 1996 NASA scientists discovered bacteria inside a Martian meteorite, providing evidence that life may have existed on Mars.

Current Event: Trump supports NASA’s mission to send people to Mars

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump signed a bill confirming support for NASA and its long-term mission of sending humans to Mars by the 2030s.



Mars Globe


Martian Meteorites

“Water on Mars: So What?”

What would a settlement on Mars look like?

Life in Extreme Places

“Mars Questions? We’ve Got Answers.”

Discussion Questions:  

  1. Why is the presence of water an indicator of possible extraterrestrial life forms? (Answers here.)
  2. If humans settle on Mars, what do you think the hardest part of adjusting to life there would be?

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