If you're excited about the possibility of Mars exploration, there's now a theme song just for you: The Mars Society has released a new anthem calling for humanity to explore the Red Planet. The world premiere of the anthem, called "Rise to Mars," was recently played by the Royal Welsh REPCo Sinfonia in Cardiff, England, and is now available on YouTube.
"Rise to Mars! / Men and women / Dare to dream! Dare to strive! / Build a home for our children / Make this desert come alive," the song goes. "There are challenges before our eyes / That nature never knew / But the power of human enterprise / Shall take us through and through!" [Take a 360-Degree Tour of a Mars Base Simulator with Nat Geo, Mars Society]
The anthem was released as several nations and organizations are working on plans to bring humans to Mars in the 2030s and 2040s. NASA is building a next-generation Space Launch System rocket for future Red Planet missions, SpaceX's Elon Musk has released an architecture design for a Mars colony, and nations ranging from Russia to China have expressed hopes for a Red Planet future.
"It's truly a 'Marseilles' for Mars," Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin said in a statement, referring to France's national anthem. "I would not at all be surprised if it someday became the national anthem of a Free Martian Republic. It is certainly going to be a favorite among all those pushing for a human future in space now and for years to come."
The song was composed by Oscar Castellino, an opera singer born in Mumbai, India, and the words were written by both Castellino and Zubrin. Castellino also performed the song at the world premiere.
"Rise to Mars!" will be performed live in the United States for the first time during September's 20th annual International Mars Society Convention, at the University of California, Irvine. For more details on how to register, visit the Mars Society website.
Though humans don't roam Mars today, the planet has been explored widely by robots. NASA, the European Space Agency and the Indian Space Research Organisation have active rovers or orbiters at the Red Planet. (NASA and other space agencies have not had full success at Mars, however, as many missions failed before arriving.)
The former Soviet Union sent several missions to the Red Planet and its moons between the 1960s and the 1980s. Russia has attempted to revisit Mars in more recent decades, but none of its missions so far have been successful.
Notable missions at Mars today include the Mars Curiosity rover mission (NASA, since 2012), the Opportunity rover mission (NASA, since 2004), the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (NASA, since 2006) Mars Express (European Space Agency, since 2003), the Trace Gas Orbiter (ESA, since 2016) and the Mars Orbiter Mission (India, since 2014). NASA and ESA are also planning more rovers in the coming years.