NASA’s attempt to find Martians as Old as Dinosaurs
By: Luke Wang
NASA’s reason for their first attempt on deploying a robot on Mars was simple: to fill their long term inquiry for life on Mars.
Life on Mars was originally believed by NASA scientists, convinced by their data extracted from soils found on the planet. . NASA celebrated with champagne until they realized their data was wrong. An experiment designed to detect organic molecules on Martian soil found none.
Despite the failure of their “trailer” on their Mars masterpiece, NASA was not ready to give up yet. To make up the “first scene,” a rover named Perseverance left Earth on July 30th for Mars. The main objective:, signs of alien microbes on the surface of the red planet.
Perseverance will land at the crater Jezero, which was a river three to four billion years ago that floated into a lake the size of Lake Tahoe. Locations such as this crater are expected by the scientists to be well preserved or even pristine for a Rover to discover the dead microbes hidden in its mud.
Perseverance will drill into rocks that are shown to be promising. The material or soil drilled out will be sealed in little tubes. Then, the tubes will be deposited on Mar’s surfaces. Various other machines are expected in the following years to facilitate the cosmic relay race that comes after.
In 2028, another rover will retrieve the tubes and transfer them to another rocket. This rocket will be launched to an orbiter which will in turn, transport these samples back to earth and into the hands of the NASA and ESA scientists. If this process is successful, this will be the first time that martian dust has reached the Earth.
If Perseverance succeeds in its mission of discovery for Martian microbes, instead of having a new celebration, the evidence will be taken back to Earth for examination for the first step. Instead of looking for life matters this time, the NASA research team will be looking only for ancient microbes, possibly extinct, fossilized, or hollowed out instead of being active.
NASA have their own thoughts about the possibility of finding alien life on Mars. As stated by their director of the Planetary-Science Division, Lori Glaze:” “Our best chance of identifying life on Mars would be going into the past……”
Scientists are still ambitious about life being discovered on the planet. Carol Stoker, a NASA planetary scientist claims this in her project: Just a few million years ago, Mars’s orbit was tilted enough to expose the region to more sunlight than usual, enough to melt icy reservoirs into salty, liquid water where microorganisms could coalesce. The area would be frozen now, but the life within it might not have died off yet.
Overall, humans have not started exploring Mars to a mass state yet. Hopefully, with our ambitions and optimism, we can take “a giant leap” for our vision towards Mars.