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NASA Make Major Announcement About Life On Mars

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 05 Jun 2018 17:05
mars curiosity rovermars curiosity roverNASA/Wikimedia

NASA has revealed the findings from the Curiosity rover on Mars.

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The team at NASA have kept their lips tightly shut surrounding the announcement, leading to excitement and speculation as to what they were planning to reveal at the press conference on Thursday, June 7.

They did confirm, however, the talk would feature ‘new science results from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover’ according to the Daily Mail.

At a press conference today, Thursday June 7, NASA said they have found ‘organic matter’, The Independent reports.

Scientists reported that NASA’s Curiosity rover has found the best evidence so far of potential life in an ancient Martian lakebed.

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The organic molecules preserved in 3.5 billion-year-old bedrock in Gale Crater — believed to once contain a shallow lake the size of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee — suggest conditions back then may have been conducive to life. That leaves open the possibility that microorganisms once populated the planet, and still might.

Curiosity’s project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said:

The chances of being able to find signs of ancient life with future missions, if life ever was present, just went up.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA, said:

With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life.

I’m confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breathtaking discoveries on the Red Planet.

The Curiosity rover was sent to Mars back in November 2011 to study climate and geology, as well as exploring the planet’s potential to sustain life or liquid water.

The mission was originally intended to only be for two years but, due to its success, Curiosity’s mission has been extended indefinitely.

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The rover has now been on the red planet for more than 2,000 days, sending back thousands of images during its mission.

As with almost every announcement from NASA, eager enthusiasts wait patiently for the revelation they’ve found an alien life form.

The press conference was hosted by Michelle Thaller, assistant director of science for communications in Nasa’s Planetary Science Division, and the key speaker was Ashwin Vasavada, project scientist at Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory.

Back in October 2016, the rover was supposed to send samples of Mars’ surface back to Earth, but plans had to be abandoned after mechanical issues caused a fault with the drill.

Engineers, however, managed to work out a new technique to restore the explorer’s drilling ability, using its robotic arm to push the drill bit forward as it spins.

After working for almost a year with an exact duplicate of the Curiosity rover on Earth, the new drilling method was successfully used on Mars on May 20.

NASA streamed the press conference live, where viewers were able to send in questions for the panel.

NASA plans to replace Curiosity in 2020 with a new rover, which will collect Martian soil in pen-sized canisters, which will then be sent back to Earth to be analysed.

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But how does a rover send capsules of soil back to earth?

Well, the new rover will have a lander, which houses a small called called the Mars Ascent Vehicle. This will launch the small containers into Mars’ orbit, where they will be collected by another craft launched from Earth.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said:

Previous Mars missions revealed ancient streambeds and the right chemistry that could have supported microbial life on the red planet.

A sample would provide a critical leap forward in our understanding of Mars’ potential to harbour life.

Fascinating!

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Life

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Daily Mail and 1 other
  1. Daily Mail

    What has Nasa found on Mars? Space agency to make a major announcement on Thursday about life on the red planet

  2. The Independent

    Nasa Mars announcement LIVE: Red Planet could have building blocks of life, Curiosity rover shows