Mars Science Laboratory, which is a mission under NASA’s supervision, delivered a robotic rover on Mars. The Mars rover is the size of a car, and it reached the Red Planet on August 6th, 2012. Since then, it has traveled the Gale Crater to accomplish its mission. The hover has to research the Mars climate and geology, discover if Gale Crater had proper conditions for life form, and study planetary habitability in case the Earth wants to move over here. The little bot called Curiosity may have just bumped into another evidence that supports the past existence of life form on Mars.
The reason why scientists chose Gale Crater as the first contact between Curiosity and Mars is that they believe that this location was a lake before. Their NASA rover has been drilling in this formation for four years in search of signs of life form.
Recently, the bot came into contact with a new type of sample that is rich in minerals, textures, and chemistry. Some of them might be proper enough to have facilitated microbial life billions of years ago. These compounds are complex enough to represent signs of water. As water is a vital ingredient for us without which life couldn’t have existed on Earth, scientists are eager to find out if this liquid form has ever existed in the history of the Red Planet.
Until now, Curiosity has traveled about 9 miles, and at the moment it is ascending the Mount Sharp, a mountain formation in Gale Crater. The more the bot advances, the more scientists discover different types of rocks. Recently, Curiosity found boron on Mars, which is a chemical element never found on the surface of the Red Planet before.
The presence of boron gives hope to scientists. Due to its extremely water soluble nature, the chemical element is usually found in places where water evaporated. The rocks were found within large cracks in the Mount Sharp. These fissures are believed to be mineral veins. They must have circulated inside groundwater for billions of years ago. Once the source of water evaporated, the cracks preserved the minerals within them. This is why such samples have been successfully conserved over a large span of time.
If all this is true, it means that Gale Grater was a lake before. Its water was not too acidic, as it permitted the survival of minerals like boron. The conditions seem perfect for a bacterial life form. However, Curiosity has a long time of monitoring the environment ahead. Scientists need more evidence to confirm that Mars can be habitable.
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