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National Geographic Magazine
March 2021
Our Obsession With Mars
by Nadia Drake
For now, the Martian surface is a place humans can explore only remotely. Scientists must program command sequences to tell their robotic avatars what to do, where to go, and which hazards to avoid. But for decades, we have been dreaming about - and plann
Photograph by Craig Cutler

The Red Planet has fascinated us for centuries. Even as we learn more, its mysteries keep us in suspense. 

This year Perseverance, NASA's latest Mars rover, landed on the surface of our dusty cosmic neighbour. Its landing came accompanied by a dazzling array of firsts: first video landing, first sound from the surface, the most high-definition images ever to return to Earth. But with every new view of Mars, the intrigue about the once very different planet only deepens. 

In this edition of National Geographic, journey through the history of our fascination with Mars – from our first blurry sight, to the very latest in the technology no exploring the Red Planet's present, past – and potential human future.     

Also in the March edition of National Geographic:

Exonerated from death row following the lives of those who facing execution due to miscarriages of justice which came to light in time. 

Kashmir the complex history of a conflict in one of the most spectacular places on Earth.

Dog racing has the sport finally had its day?   


The semantics of disaster
Ukraine's ‘Train ladies’
Magnificent Utah


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Mars | Death Row takes | Utah | Kashmir | Ukraine | Disasters
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Exploring Delphi, the heart of ancient Greece

Once a sanctuary dedicated to the god Apollo, Delphi is more than the sum of its showstopping ruins. Perched high above the Gulf of Corinth, it’s dotted with extraordinary details that mark it as the true heart of the ancient cosmos.

Warrior queens, fairies and feuding clans: exploring legends on Scotland's Isle of Skye

For centuries, colourful tales have shaped the lives of those who call Scotland’s ‘Misty Isle’ home, and are still deeply intertwined with its soul-stirring landscapes.

Eight of the world’s best historic bookshops, from Portland to Paris

The world’s bookshops have their own stories to tell, often just as fascinating as those on their shelves. Repositories of knowledge and bastions of avant-garde thought, these eight independent booksellers are historic monuments in their own right.

Beyond the full English: how fried breakfasts vary across the UK

Tattie scones, laverbread, soda farls, Bury black pudding: the classic fried breakfast of the British Isles comes in many different forms, and is so much more than just bacon, eggs and sausages.

Three weekend getaways in the Peloponnese, Greece

History, culture and classic Greek hospitality abound in these three scenic Peloponnese coastal towns — and each can be discovered over a weekend.

Seven of the best archaeological sites in the UK

New discoveries surrounding the origins of Stonehenge have piqued the nation’s interest in all things archaeological. Here are seven hands-on destinations to visit to dig a little deeper into the UK’s ancient history.



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