Life on Mars: Can we ever live on the Red Planet?

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 18 May 2019, 01:29 PM
NASA is working hard now to discover whether there is life on Mars
NASA is working hard now to discover whether there is life on Mars

Life on Mars: The Red Planet has long been the subject of human interest. NASA is working hard now to discover whether there is life on Mars. The United States and other countries have been sending spacecraft to orbit or land there since the 1960s, and each mission teaches us more about this fascinating planet. In 1976, NASA landed robotic spacecraft named Viking 1 and Viking 2 on Mars. One of these landers worked there for nearly 4 years and the other lasted more than 6 years.

Billions of years ago there was a life on Mars. It featured rivers, lakes and even a deep ocean on its surface. Everything changed when Mars lost its global magnetic field. “Charged particles streaming from the sun were then free to strip away the once-thick Martian atmosphere, and strip it they did. This process had transformed Mars into the cold, dry world we know today by about 3.7 billion years ago, observations by NASA's MAVEN orbiter suggest. (Earth still has its global magnetic field, explaining how our planet remains so liveable), according to Space.com report.

For now, there is no clear evidence for life on Mars. But recently NASA's Curiosity rover has rolled through two plumes of methane inside the 154 kilometre Gale Crater. More than 90% of Earth's atmospheric methane is produced by microbes and other organisms, so it's possible the gas is a signature of modern Martian life, report suggests.

Let’s pin our hopes on NASA's 2020 Mars rover, which will hunt for more evidence of life on the Red Planet. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself.

Four more missions are in line for Martian exploration and will be launched between 2020 and 2021. These include the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover by Russia and ESA, the 2020 Chinese Mars Mission, the Hope Mars Mission by the United Arab Emirates, and India's Mars Orbiter Mission 2.

First Published: Saturday, May 18, 2019 01:22 PM
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