A Mars Orbiter Just Detected Something It’s Never Seen Before

water on mars

  • The atmosphere of Mars is thin and, compared to Earth, barely even there at all, but it can still teach us about the history of the planet and its present-day status.
  • The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which is a project from the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos, recently detected a gas that it never found before.
  • Hydrogen chloride, which requires specific conditions in which to form, has been detected in the atmosphere, raising many questions. 

The Mars we see today is mostly dry, dusty, and barren. Sure, there is some water locked away in ice near the poles, and possibly some melting that happens during the Martian year, but aside from that there’s very little that offers clues as to the planet’s potentially rich and life-giving history. Projects like the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, sent to Mars by the European Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos space group, are helping to pull the curtain back and reveal some of the secrets the planet still holds.

Now, in a pair of new studies published in Science Advances, researchers using data from the Trace Gas Orbiter reveal that they’ve found a gas they’ve never seen before around Mars. The newfound gas, hydrogen chloride, which is the first halogen gas found in the Martian atmosphere, seems to be linked to seasonal changes, but the discovery ultimately raises more questions than it answers.

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A planet’s atmosphere might not seem like a super important thing to study, especially in the case of an atmosphere as thin as that of Mars. But while the atmosphere of Mars may not be enough to support life on its surface, it can still serve as an indicator of what processes are playing out on the surface of the planet. The exciting part about discovering hydrogen chloride in the Martian atmosphere is that it suggests that water was (or still is) a significant component of the planet’s climatology.

“You need water vapour to free chlorine and you need the by-products of water—hydrogen—to form hydrogen chloride. Water is critical in this chemistry,” Kevin Olsen, co-author of the research, said in a statement. “We also observe a correlation to dust: we see more hydrogen chloride when dust activity ramps up, a process linked to the seasonal heating of the southern hemisphere.”

But what exactly does this mean? It’s still hard to say. Whatever is generating the gas appears to be linked to summer in the planet’s southern hemisphere, but beyond that, it’s difficult to determine the chain of events that is leading to its generation.

In the second paper, researchers reveal that measurements of the ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in the planet’s atmosphere point to huge losses of water over the planet’s history. This supports the idea that Mars was once rich with water and potentially even supported massive lakes, rivers, and oceans on its surface.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech. Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

Source: A Mars orbiter just detected something it’s never seen before – BGR

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The US space agency NASA has released the first audio from Mars, a faint crackling recording of wind captured by the Perseverance rover. A microphone did not work during the rover’s descent to the surface, but it was able to capture audio once it landed on Mars. The first-of-its-kind audio has been released along with extraordinary new video footage of the rover as it descended and landed last Thursday.
On the show we are joined by Dr Swati Mohan, the Indian American scientist who led the guidance and control operations of the Mars 2020 mission. She talks about the what the ‘Seven Minutes Terror’ was and about the tiny bindi she wore that has generated a huge buzz on social media. NDTV is one of the leaders in the production and broadcasting of un-biased and comprehensive news and entertainment programmes in India and abroad. NDTV delivers reliable information across all platforms: TV, Internet and Mobile. Subscribe for more videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/ndtv?sub… Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ndtv Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ndtv Download the NDTV Apps: http://www.ndtv.com/page/apps Watch more videos: http://www.ndtv.com/video?yt​.
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The Arctic Is Burning Like Never Before & That’s Bad News For Climate Change

Wildfires blazed along the Arctic Circle this summer, incinerating tundra, blanketing Siberian cities in smoke and capping the second extraordinary fire season in a row. By the time the fire season waned at the end of last month, the blazes had emitted a record 244 megatonnes of carbon dioxide — that’s 35% more than last year, which also set records. One culprit, scientists say, could be peatlands that are burning as the top of the world melts.

Peatlands are carbon-rich soils that accumulate as waterlogged plants slowly decay, sometimes over thousands of years. They are the most carbon-dense ecosystems on Earth; a typical northern peatland packs in roughly ten times as much carbon as a boreal forest. When peat burns, it releases its ancient carbon to the atmosphere, adding to the heat-trapping gases that cause climate change.Dramatic sea-ice melt caps tough Arctic summer

Nearly half the world’s peatland-stored carbon lies between 60 and 70 degrees north, along the Arctic Circle. The problem with this is that historically frozen carbon-rich soils are expected to thaw as the planet warms, making them even more vulnerable to wildfires and more likely to release large amounts of carbon. It’s a feedback loop: as peatlands release more carbon, global warming increases, which thaws more peat and causes more wildfires (see ‘Peatlands burning’). A study published last month1 shows that northern peatlands could eventually shift from being a net sink for carbon to a net source of carbon, further accelerating climate change.

The unprecedented Arctic wildfires of 2019 and 2020 show that transformational shifts are already under way, says Thomas Smith, an environmental geographer at the London School of Economics and Political Science. “Alarming is the right term.”

Zombie fires

The fire season in the Arctic kicked off unusually early this year: as early as May, there were fires blazing north of the tree line in Siberia, which normally wouldn’t happen until around July. One reason is that temperatures in winter and spring were warmer than usual, priming the landscape to burn. It’s also possible that peat fires had been smouldering beneath the ice and snow all winter and then emerged, zombie-like, in the spring as the snow melted. Scientists have shown that this kind of low-temperature, flameless combustion can burn in peat and other organic matter, such as coal, for months or even years.

Because of the early start, individual Arctic wildfires have been burning for longer than usual, and “they’re starting much farther north than they used to — in landscapes that we thought were fire-resistant rather than fire-prone”, says Jessica McCarty, a geographer at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Sources: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts; Hugelius, G. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 117, 20438–20446 (2020)

Researchers are now assessing just how bad this Arctic fire season was. The Russian Wildfires Remote Monitoring System catalogued 18,591 separate fires in Russia’s two easternmost districts, with a total of nearly 14 million hectares burnt, says Evgeny Shvetsov, a fire specialist at the Sukachev Institute of Forest, which is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Krasnoyarsk. Most of the burning happened in permafrost zones, where the ground is normally frozen year-round.

To estimate the record carbon dioxide emissions, scientists with the European Commission’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service used satellites to study the wildfires’ locations and intensity, and then calculated how much fuel each had probably burnt. Yet even that is likely to be an underestimate, says Mark Parrington, an atmospheric scientist at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading, UK, who was involved in the analysis. Fires that burn in peatland can be too low-intensity for satellite sensors to capture.

The problem with peat

How much this year’s Arctic fires will affect global climate over the long term depends on what they burnt. That’s because peatlands, unlike boreal forest, do not regrow quickly after a fire, so the carbon released is permanently lost to the atmosphere.

Smith has calculated that about half of the Arctic wildfires in May and June were on peatlands — and that in many cases, the fires went on for days, suggesting that they were fuelled by thick layers of peat or other soil rich in organic matter.How peat could protect the planet

And the August study1 found that there are nearly four million square kilometres of peatlands in northern latitudes. More of that than previously thought is frozen and shallow — and therefore vulnerable to thawing and drying out, says Gustaf Hugelius, a permafrost scientist at Stockholm University who led the investigation. He and his colleagues also found that although peatlands have been helping to cool the climate for thousands of years, by storing carbon as they accumulate, they will probably become a net source of carbon being released into the atmosphere — which could happen by the end of the century.

Fire risk in Siberia is predicted to increase as the climate warms2, but by many measures, the shift has already arrived, says Amber Soja, an environmental scientist who studies Arctic fires at the US National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia. “What you would expect is already happening,” she says. “And in some cases faster than we would have expected.”

By: Alexandra Witze

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National Geographic

Here at the bottom of the world, a place all but free of human settlement, humanity is scrambling one of the ocean’s richest wildernesses. Fossil-fuel burning thousands of miles away is heating up the western peninsula faster than almost anywhere else. (Only the Arctic compares.) Hear National Geographic photographer Cristina Mittermeier share her love and fears for this beautiful place. ➡

Subscribe: http://bit.ly/NatGeoSubscribe#NationalGeographic#Antarctica#ClimateChange​ About National Geographic: National Geographic is the world’s premium destination for science, exploration, and adventure. Through their world-class scientists, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers, Nat Geo gets you closer to the stories that matter and past the edge of what’s possible.

Get More National Geographic: Official Site: http://bit.ly/NatGeoOfficialSite​ Facebook: http://bit.ly/FBNatGeo​ Twitter: http://bit.ly/NatGeoTwitter​ Instagram: http://bit.ly/NatGeoInsta​ Read the full article “The Big Meltdown” featured in National Geographic magazine’s November issue. https://on.natgeo.com/2J7VGvS​ See Antarctica Like Never Before | National Geographic https://youtu.be/Q_mCHs79B6c​ National Geographic https://www.youtube.com/natgeo

By The Late 21st Century, The Number of People Suffering Extreme Droughts Will Double

Increase in water scarcity will affect food security and escalate human migration and conflict, scientists say.

By the late 21st century, the number of people suffering extreme droughts will double.

Researchers at Michigan State University are leading a global effort to offer the first worldwide view of how climate change could affect water availability and drought severity in the decades to come. The research is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

By the late 21st century, the global land area and population facing extreme droughts could more than double — increasing from 3% during 1976-2005 to 7%-8%, according to Yadu Pokhrel, an MSU civil and environmental engineer and lead author of a paper published in Nature Climate Change.

“More and more people will suffer from extreme droughts if a medium-to-high level of global warming continues and water management is maintained in its present state,” Pokhrel said. “Areas of the Southern Hemisphere, where water scarcity is already a problem, will be disproportionately affected. We predict this increase in water scarcity will affect food security and escalate human migration and conflict.”

The research team, including more than 20 contributing authors, is projecting a large reduction in natural land water storage in two-thirds of the world, also caused by climate change.

Land water storage, technically known as terrestrial water storage, is the accumulation of water in snow and ice, rivers, lakes and reservoirs, wetlands, soil and groundwater — all critical components of the world’s water and energy supply. Terrestrial water storage modulates the flow of water in the hydrologic cycle and determines water availability as well as drought.

“Our findings are a concern,” Pokhrel said. “To date, no study has examined how climate change would impact land water storage globally. Our study presents the first comprehensive picture of how global warming and socioeconomic changes will affect land water storage and what that will mean for droughts through the end of the century.”

Added Ingrid Padilla, a program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences, “This important study sheds light on future changes in water availability in different regions of the world and provides tools for global readiness and adaptation to water scarcity.”–  NSF Public Affairs, researchnews@nsf.gov

By: https://www.nsf.gov/

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NSF and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, release an original video series exploring the connection between water, food and energy. Date Updated: February 7, 2017

Let It Snow! The Science of Winter

Snow–that icon of winter–blankets the land with a beautiful silence. We all depend on snow. Our year-round water supply largely comes from snowmelt, and many spring flowers need the nutrients in snow to bloom. Species as small as fungi and as large as moose require snow. Date Updated: January 13, 2017

NSF INCLUDES

NSF INCLUDES is a multi-year initiative designed to help develop collaborative alliances and partnerships in order to create pathways for more people to become scientists and engineers. Date Updated: December 13, 2016

Public Access to Results of NSF-funded Research

The National Science Foundation has developed a plan outlining a framework for activities to increase public access to scientific publications and digital scientific data resulting from research the foundation funds. Date Updated: December 2, 2016

A Foundation for Robotics: Designing cooperative, intelligent systems of the future

Long-term federal investments in fundamental science and engineering research has led to novel machines that safely partner with people in nearly every environment. Date Updated: June 6, 2016

NEON

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is an NSF-funded large facility project. NEON is a continental-scale research platform for discovering and understanding the impacts of climate change, land-use change and invasive species on ecology. Learn about NEON and NEON-related research. Date Updated: March 23, 2016

Science of Innovation (2016)

From 3-D bioprinting that could one day generate heart tissue to origami-inspired structures built for medicine and space exploration, a new set of educational videos continues an exploration begun in 2013 inside the creative process that leads to innovation. Date Updated: February 18, 2016

Computer Science Is for All Students

NSF-funded research is building the necessary foundations for implementing rigorous and engaging computer science education. A wide range of resources, including instructional materials and support for teachers and schools, have been prototyped across the U.S. Date Updated: January 30, 2016

Nanotechnology: Super Small Science

A six-part video series howing how atoms and molecules that are thousands of times smaller than the width of a human hair can be used as building blocks to create future technology.

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Netflix

In partnership with Vox Media Studios and Vox, this enlightening explainer series will take viewers deep inside a wide range of culturally relevant topics, questions, and ideas. Each episode will explore current events and social trends pulled from the zeitgeist, touching topics across politics, science, history and pop culture — featuring interviews with some of the most authoritative experts in their respective fields.

In this episode: The global water crisis is at an inflection point. How do we price our most valuable resource, while also ensuring access to it as a human right? US Rating: TV-MA. This show is designed for for mature audiences only. For more information and educational resources, please visit: https://media.netflix.com/en/company-…

Newly Discovered Ghostly Circles In The Sky Cant Be Explained By Current Theories And Astronomers Excited

In September 2019, my colleague Anna Kapinska gave a presentation showing interesting objects she’d found while browsing our new radio astronomical data. She had started noticing very weird shapes she couldn’t fit easily to any known type of object.

Among them, labelled by Anna as WTF?, was a picture of a ghostly circle of radio emission, hanging out in space like a cosmic smoke-ring. None of us had ever seen anything like it before, and we had no idea what it was. A few days later, our colleague Emil Lenc found a second one, even more spooky than Anna’s.

Anna and Emil had been examining the new images from our pilot observations for the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU) project, made with CSIRO’s revolutionary new Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope.

EMU plans to boldly probe parts of the Universe where no telescope has gone before. It can do so because ASKAP can survey large swathes of the sky very quickly, probing to a depth previously only reached in tiny areas of sky, and being especially sensitive to faint, diffuse objects like these.

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I predicted a couple of years ago this exploration of the unknown would probably make unexpected discoveries, which I called WTFs. But none of us expected to discover something so unexpected, so quickly. Because of the enormous data volumes, I expected the discoveries would be made using machine learning. But these discoveries were made with good old-fashioned eyeballing.


Read more: Expect the unexpected from the big-data boom in radio astronomy


Hunting ORCs

Our team searched the rest of the data by eye, and we found a few more of the mysterious round blobs. We dubbed them ORCs, which stands for “odd radio circles”. But the big question, of course, is: “what are they?”

At first we suspected an imaging artefact, perhaps generated by a software error. But we soon confirmed they are real, using other radio telescopes. We still have no idea how big or far away they are. They could be objects in our galaxy, perhaps a few light-years across, or they could be far away in the Universe and maybe millions of light years across.

When we look in images taken with optical telescopes at the position of ORCs, we see nothing. The rings of radio emission are probably caused by clouds of electrons, but why don’t we see anything in visible wavelengths of light? We don’t know, but finding a puzzle like this is the dream of every astronomer.


Read more: The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder finally hits the big-data highway


We know what they’re not

We have ruled out several possibilities for what ORCs might be.

Could they be supernova remnants, the clouds of debris left behind when a star in our galaxy explodes? No. They are far from most of the stars in the Milky Way and there are too many of them.

Could they be the rings of radio emission sometimes seen in galaxies undergoing intense bursts of star formation? Again, no. We don’t see any underlying galaxy that would be hosting the star formation.

Could they be the giant lobes of radio emission we see in radio galaxies, caused by jets of electrons squirting out from the environs of a supermassive black hole? Not likely, because the ORCs are very distinctly circular, unlike the tangled clouds we see in radio galaxies.

Could they be Einstein rings, in which radio waves from a distant galaxy are being bent into a circle by the gravitational field of a cluster of galaxies? Still no. ORCs are too symmetrical, and we don’t see a cluster at their centre.

A genuine mystery

In our paper about ORCs, which is forthcoming in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, we run through all the possibilities and conclude these enigmatic blobs don’t look like anything we already know about.

So we need to explore things that might exist but haven’t yet been observed, such as a vast shockwave from some explosion in a distant galaxy. Such explosions may have something to do with fast radio bursts, or the neutron star and black hole collisions that generate gravitational waves.


Read more: How we closed in on the location of a fast radio burst in a galaxy far, far away


Or perhaps they are something else entirely. Two Russian scientists have even suggested ORCs might be the “throats” of wormholes in spacetime.

From the handful we’ve found so far, we estimate there are about 1,000 ORCs in the sky. My colleague Bärbel Koribalski notes the search is now on, with telescopes around the world, to find more ORCs and understand their cause.

It’s a tricky job, because ORCS are very faint and difficult to find. Our team is brainstorming all these ideas and more, hoping for the eureka moment when one of us, or perhaps someone else, suddenly has the flash of inspiration that solves the puzzle.

It’s an exciting time for us. Most astronomical research is aimed at refining our knowledge of the Universe, or testing theories. Very rarely do we get the challenge of stumbling across a new type of object which nobody has seen before, and trying to figure out what it is.

Is it a completely new phenomenon, or something we already know about but viewed in a weird way? And if it really is completely new, how does that change our understanding of the Universe? Watch this space!

By: Ray Norris Professor, School of Science, Western Sydney University

NASA Goddard

A new study using observations from NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveals the first clear-cut evidence that the expanding debris of exploded stars produces some of the fastest-moving matter in the universe. This discovery is a major step toward meeting one of Fermi’s primary mission goals. Cosmic rays are subatomic particles that move through space at nearly the speed of light. About 90 percent of them are protons, with the remainder consisting of electrons and atomic nuclei.

In their journey across the galaxy, the electrically charged particles become deflected by magnetic fields. This scrambles their paths and makes it impossible to trace their origins directly. Through a variety of mechanisms, these speedy particles can lead to the emission of gamma rays, the most powerful form of light and a signal that travels to us directly from its sources. Two supernova remnants, known as IC 443 and W44, are expanding into cold, dense clouds of interstellar gas.

This material emits gamma rays when struck by high-speed particles escaping the remnants. Scientists have been unable to ascertain which particle is responsible for this emission because cosmic-ray protons and electrons give rise to gamma rays with similar energies. Now, after analyzing four years of data, Fermi scientists see a gamma-ray feature from both remnants that, like a fingerprint, proves the culprits are protons. When cosmic-ray protons smash into normal protons, they produce a short-lived particle called a neutral pion.

The pion quickly decays into a pair of gamma rays. This emission falls within a specific band of energies associated with the rest mass of the neutral pion, and it declines steeply toward lower energies. Detecting this low-end cutoff is clear proof that the gamma rays arise from decaying pions formed by protons accelerated within the supernova remnants. This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11209 Like our videos? Subscribe to NASA’s Goddard Shorts HD podcast: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/iTunes/f… Or find NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NASA.GSFC Or find us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/NASAGoddard

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What Is ‘Panspermia?’ New Evidence For The Wild Theory That Says We Could All Be Space Aliens

Imagine if NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover—now on its way to the red planet—discovered microbial life there.

It would change everything we know about life in the Solar System and far beyond.

Or would it? What if we accidentally transported life to Mars on a spacecraft? And what if that is how life moves around the Universe?

A new paper published this week in Frontiers in Microbiology explores the possibility that microbes and extremophiles may migrate between planets and distribute life around the Universe—and that includes on spacecraft sent from Earth to Mars.

What is ‘panspermia?’

It’s an untested, unproven and rather wild theory regarding the interplanetary transfer of life. It theorizes that microscopic life-forms, such as bacteria, can be transported through space and land on another planet. Thus sparking life elsewhere.

It could happen by accident—such as on spacecraft—via comets and asteroids in the Solar System, and perhaps even between star systems on interstellar objects like ʻOumuamua.

However, for “panspermia” to have any credence requires proof that bacteria could survive a long journey through the vacuum, temperature fluctuations, and intense UV radiation in outer space.

Cue the “Tanpopo” project.

The bacterial exposure experiment took place from 2015 to 2018 using the Exposed Facility located on the exterior of Kibo, the Japanese Experimental Module of the International Space Station.
The bacterial exposure experiment took place from 2015 to 2018 using the Exposed Facility located on … [+] JAXA/NASA

What is the ‘Tanpopo’ mission?

Tanpopo—dandelion in English—is a scientific experiment to see if bacteria can survive in the extremes of outer space.

The researchers from Tokyo University—in conjunction with Japanese national space agency JAXA—wanted to see if the bacteria deinococcus could survive in space, so had it placed in exposure panels on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). It’s known as being resistant to radiation. Dried samples of different thicknesses were exposed to space environment for one, two, or three years and then tested to see if any survived.

They did, largely by a layer of dead bacteria protecting a colony beneath it. The researchers estimate that a colony of 1 mm of diameter could potentially survive up to 8 years in outer space conditions. MORE FROM FORBESThe Brightest Star In The Night Sky Rises Today (And No, It’s Not The North Star)By Jamie Carter

What does this mean for ‘panspermia?’

“The results suggest that deinococcus could survive during the travel from Earth to Mars and vice versa, which is several months or years in the shortest orbit,” said Akihiko Yamagishi, a Professor at Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences and principal investigator of Tanpopo.

That means spacecraft visiting Mars could theoretically carry microorganisms and potentially contaminate its surface.

However, this isn’t just about Earth and Mars—the ramifications of panspermia, if proven, are far-reaching.

“The origin of life on Earth is the biggest mystery of human beings (and) scientists can have totally different points of view on the matter,” said Dr. Yamagishi. “Some think that life is very rare and happened only once in the Universe, while others think that life can happen on every suitable planet.”

“If panspermia is possible, life must exist much more often than we previously thought.” MORE FROM FORBESA Waxing Moon Visits Jupiter And Saturn: What To Watch For In The Night Sky This WeekBy Jamie Carter

What is ‘lithopanspermia?’

This is bacteria surviving in space for a long period when shielded by rock—typically an asteroid or a comet—which could travel between planets, potentially spreading bacteria and biologically-rich matter around the Solar System.

However, the theory of panspermia goes even further than that.

What is ‘interstellar panspermia’ and ‘galactic panspermia?’

This is the hypothesis—and it’s one with zero evidence—that life exists throughout the galaxy and/or Universe specifically because bacteria and microorganisms are spread around by asteroids, comets, space dust and possibly even interstellar spacecraft from alien civilizations.

In 2018 a paper concluded that the likelihood of Galactic panspermia is strongly dependent upon the survival lifetime of the organisms as well as the velocity of the comet or asteroid—positing that the entire Milky Way could potentially be exchanging biotic components across vast distances.

Such theories have gained credence in the last few years with the discovery of two extrasolar objects Oumuamua and Borisov passing through our Solar System.

However, while the ramifications are mind-boggling, panspermia is definitely not a proven scientific process.

There are still many unanswered questions about how the space-surviving microbes could physically transfer from one celestial body to another.

Illustration of NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover studying a Mars rock outcrop (not to scale). Mars 2020 is targeted for launch in July/August 2020 aboard an Atlas V-541 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Illustration of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover studying a Mars rock outcrop (not to scale). … [+] NASA/JPL-Caltech

How will Perseverance look for life on Mars?

NASA’s Perseverance rover is due to land on the red planet on February 18, 2021. It will land in a nearly four billion-year-old river delta in Mars’ 28 miles/45 kilometers-wide Jezero Crater. 

It’s thought likely that Jezero Crater was home to a lake as large as Lake Tahoe more than 3.5 billion years ago. Ancient rivers there could have carried organic molecules and possibly even microorganisms.

Perseverance’s mission will be to analyze rock and sediment samples to see if Mars may have had conditions for microorganisms to thrive. It will drill a few centimeters into Mars and take core samples, then put the most promising into containers. It will then leave them on the Martian surface to be later collected by a human mission in the early 2030s. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes. Follow me

on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Jamie Carter

 Jamie Carter

I’m an experienced science, technology and travel journalist interested in space exploration, moon-gazing, exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, astro-travel, wildlife conservation and nature. I’m the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of “A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide” (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides.

Source: FORBES

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