In 1976, on this day, U.S. spacecraft Viking 1 landed on Mars to test and determine whether life exists on the planet. In August this year, NASA’s rover called Curiosity will land near the Martian equator to assist man’s relentless search for life on the Red Planet.
We’ve learned a lot more about Mars since 1976. With each mission the evidence for life has grown. We know that Mars has the energy, water and the chemical resources for supporting life.
Mounting geologic evidence points to Mars starting out as a habitable planet. But it grew colder and drier as its water froze, much of the atmosphere was ablated away by the solar wind, and a protective magnetic field fizzled away. Darwinian evolution should have ensured that primeval life, perhaps spawned in a great polar ocean, would find innovative ways to adapt and survive on a slowly dying world. Has it?
A handout picture taken by Mars Express, January 15 from a height of 273 km shows a channel (Reull Vallis) once formed by flowing water east of the Hellas basin on Mars January 23, 2004.
Scientists in the past have launched various Mars missions to know if microbial “alien” life existed or exists on Planet Mars.
In 2006, Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which began orbiting Mars in 1997, provided images of two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them.
In 2008, laboratory tests aboard NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander identified water in a soil sample.
In July 2011, scientists claimed to have found traces of water under a thin varnish of iron oxide.
More recently, NASA scientists on Thursday revealed that they have found flowing salt water on the red planet.
The water appears in spring and summer on a slope inside Mars’ Newton crater, as observed by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on May 30, 2011.
Does this photograph really prove that we are not alone in the universe? Images beamed back from Mars would suggest so — although to skeptics, it could just be a strange rock formation.
NASA’s Mars Explorer Spirit sent back images from the surface of the Red Planet four years ago. Space and science fiction enthusiasts are convinced there is more than meets the eye, and after years of studying the images, have found what appears to be an alien figure walking downhill.
The discovery of the life-like figure ambling across the surface of the planet is likely to further boost intrigue in our nearest neighboring planet. An earlier rock formation, dubbed “the face of Mars” showed what appeared to be a human head staring into the night sky.
A portion of the west rim of Endeavour crater sweeps southward in this colour view from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity released by NASA August 10, 2011.
source: Indian express/ fb