A scientist who is part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission recently concluded that there is a possibility that the Mars Gale Crater, the main search region for the Curiosity rover, has had life billions of years ago.
According to a Slash Gear report, geosciences professor Christopher House said the Gale crater seems to be a lake environment. House's team discovered some thin layers of mud stone inside the crater and concluded that water could have existed there for many years. However, over time, the lake was filled with sediments and the water disappeared forming stones.
When the stone eroded, the crater was filled with sand. The scientist noted, however, that despite being covered by sand, there are rock fractures that are full of sulfate. This could have meant that the water still ran through the rocks even when the lake dried up.
The interesting thing is that in the midst of all this, the sulfur gases of the sulfate and sulphide minerals formed, indicating that the environment may have been adequate to sustain life in the past. House shared that they will be able to gather more evidence as Curiosity's vehicle travels throughout the region and takes a record of the rocks it finds.
NASA scientists have been working doubly to find any evidence of life on the Red Planet. Recently, the Curiosity rover was able to measure unusual amounts of methane gas in the Martian atmosphere. Back here on Earth, methane often signals the existence of live microbes.
The New York Times initial report shows that methane measurements are 21 parts per billion, three times more than when methane gas shot up in 2013. However, as fast as it shot, methane gas also crashed causing the scientists thought it was a coincidence
Based on a report, an expert in planetary climates in the solar system and head of the infrared spectroscopy laboratory at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) explained that the methane peak could be NASA's own rover. The theory came from Alexander Rodin, who worked on Mars Express and ExoMars. Rodin shared that the gas may have been the result of an "equipment artifact."
NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, acquired this image using its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), located in the turret at the end of the rover's robotic arm, on July 10, 2019, Sun 2462 of the Science Laboratory Mission from Mars, at 5:00 p.m.: 31 UTC.
When this image was obtained, the count position of the focus motor was 13531. This number indicates the internal position of the MAHLI lens at the time the image was acquired. This count also indicates whether the dust cover was open or closed. Values between 0 and 6000 mean that the dust cover was closed; Values between 12500 and 16000 occur when the cover is open. For close-up images, the engine count can be used in some cases to estimate the distance between the MAHLI lens and the lens. For example, the focused images obtained with the dust cover open for which the lens was 2.5 cm from the lens have an engine count close to 15270. If the lens is 5 cm from the lens, the engine count it is about 14360; if 7 cm, 13980; 10 cm, 13635; 15 cm, 13325; 20 cm, 13155; 25 cm, 13050; 30 cm, 12970. These correspond to image scales, in micrometers per pixel, of approximately 16, 25, 32, 42, 60, 77, 95 and 113.
Most of the images acquired by MAHLI in daylight use the sun as a source of illumination. However, in some cases, the two groups of white light LEDs from MAHLI and a group of long-wave ultraviolet (UV) LEDs can be used to illuminate the lenses. When Curiosity acquired this image, the group 1 white light LEDs were off, the group 2 white light LEDs were off and the ultraviolet (UV) LEDs were off. Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / MSSS