Life on Mars?

Rachel Spinella
Features Editor

PC: Rachel Spinella

On September 29, the Independent reported that Nasa’s chief scientist, Dr. Jim Green, says there could be life on Mars in possibly two years. According to the independent, scientists have been getting closer to finding life on Mars but the world is not ready for the, “revolutionary implications of the discovery,” Green stated. 

Nasa and the European Space Agency (ESA) have sent several rovers to Mars that could be capable of finding evidence of life by March of 2021. The ExoMars rover, named affectionately “Rosalind” in memory of the British chemist Rosalind Franklin, is the machine that many believe will make the discovery. “Rosalind” will search the planet for extraterrestrial life by drilling 6.5 feet down into Mars’ core, in order to take samples which will be crushed up and examined for organic matter in a mobile laboratory. 

Dr. Green compared the importance of this potential discovery as being similar to when Nicholas Copernicus stated that the Earth revolves around the Sun, back in the 16 century. He stated,

“It will start a whole new line of thinking. I don’t think we’re prepared for the results,” He continued. “I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it and making some announcements.” 

The rover itself will drill holes in Mars’ rock foundations before sending test-tubes of these rock samples back to Earth. This means that for the first time, scientists will have actual material from Mars brought to Earth. 

Dr. Green also said that this will impact scientists as they will have even more questions to ask and solve. 

“What happens next is the whole set of scientific questions. Is that life like us? How are we related?” He told the Independent. “Can life move from the planet-to-planet or do we have a spark and just the right environment and that spark generates life-like us-based on the chemical environment that it is in?” 

Recent discoveries indicate that planets which were once thought to be uninhabitable may once have held suitable living conditions for life.  In fact, a study that was done earlier this month claimed that around 2 or 3 billion years ago, Venus may have been habitable until the atmosphere became dense and hot about 700 million years ago. According to Dr. Green, research even suggests that civilizations may be able to exist on other planets.

“There is no reason to think that there isn’t civilizations elsewhere, because we are finding exoplanets (planets outside of our solar systems) all over the place,” He states. With that being said, it is important to note that technology entrepreneur Elon Musk revealed a SpaceX spacecraft was designed to carry crew and cargo to Mars or even other planets in the solar system, then to return to Earth.

 “Musk has said that the company’s starship was essential for the viability of space travel by introducing a spacecraft that can be reused.” 

The ship in question is expected to take off for the very first time in about two months, and reach 65,000 feet before it lands back on Earth. 

As for sending rovers to Mars, scientists may have discovered that there could be an active system of water underneath the surface of Mars, earlier this year. Hopefully, these rovers can confirm whether or not this water source exists.

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