<p><strong>After returning from expeditions to the Arctic and the jungles of <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/brazil-guide/">Brazil</a> in the early 1900s, cartoonist turned explorer Anthony Fiala included drawings of life and exploration on <a href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/mars-article/">Mars</a>—such as this drawing of two daring Mars explorers—in <a href="http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/traveling-culture/chau1/pdf/fiala/1/brochure.pdf">a lantern slideshow</a>.</strong></p><p>His humorous intention to describe the story of a fictitious trip to Mars quickly raised eyebrows as his Brooklyn, New York, audience grew curious about what life was like on the red planet.</p><p>Throughout the centuries, people indulged their fascination about life on Mars through the imagination of artists and storytellers, as well as through the lens of telescopes that returned imprecise images. (See <a href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/photos/mars/">Mars pictures.</a>)</p><p>By 2018, that curiosity may finally be satisfied. Multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist, announced on February 27 that his nonprofit organization Inspiration Mars Foundation <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/02/130222-manned-mission-mars-tito-space-science/">plans to launch an American couple to Mars in 2018</a>.</p><p>If successful, they would become the first people to see the planet up close and personal.</p><p><em>—Linda Poon</em></p>

Dare to Explore

After returning from expeditions to the Arctic and the jungles of Brazil in the early 1900s, cartoonist turned explorer Anthony Fiala included drawings of life and exploration on Mars—such as this drawing of two daring Mars explorers—in a lantern slideshow.

His humorous intention to describe the story of a fictitious trip to Mars quickly raised eyebrows as his Brooklyn, New York, audience grew curious about what life was like on the red planet.

Throughout the centuries, people indulged their fascination about life on Mars through the imagination of artists and storytellers, as well as through the lens of telescopes that returned imprecise images. (See Mars pictures.)

By 2018, that curiosity may finally be satisfied. Multimillionaire Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist, announced on February 27 that his nonprofit organization Inspiration Mars Foundation plans to launch an American couple to Mars in 2018.

If successful, they would become the first people to see the planet up close and personal.

—Linda Poon

Illustration by Anthony Fiala, National Geographic

Pictures: Looking Back at Visions of Life on Mars

Aliens, swords, and spacesuits feature among sometimes unearthly illustrations of what people once thought about life on Mars.

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