NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars back in February, and it has the goal of gathering important data from our neighboring planet. The rover is collecting samples from the Red Planet to bring them back to Earth for further analysis.
According to CNET.com, Perseverance is pointing its gear towards a peculiar layered rock from Mars’ Jezero Crater. Using its robotic arm towards the surface of the rock, the operation has led to something unexpected.
Peering inside to look at something no one’s ever seen. I’ve abraded a small patch of this rock to remove the surface layer and get a look underneath. Zeroing in on my next target for #SamplingMars.
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) November 9, 2021
Astronomers had been keeping their eyes on Mars for a pretty long time, and it’s totally understandable. We’re talking about the only other planet from our Solar System that is at least theoretically capable of hosting any life forms. The other is Earth, obviously. Mercury and Venus are way too hot due to their short distance from the Sun, which makes the environment of these planets inhabitable. Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants – therefore, there’s no solid surface. Uranus and Neptune are known as ice giants, meaning that it’s way too cold for life to exist in those regions of the Solar System. Pluto is not even considered a planet anymore for fifteen years.
Was Mars ever habitable?
Scientists recently found some indicators that the Red Planet was once a habitable place. However, they previously knew from other studies that Mars featured rivers and lakes of water billions of years ago. The presence of liquid water doesn’t automatically mean that there are also any aliens around. But certainly, life as we know it wouldn’t be able to exist and develop without the presence of liquid water.
It would be interesting to build a human colony on Mars, as some astronomers hope. Every scientist acknowledges that such a project won’t be possible in the near future, but the first step of sending an astronaut there is practically mandatory.