Decades After Landing on Mars, We May Find Proof of Past Life
After 25 years of rovers landing on Mars, many are looking forward to the next chapter of Mars exploration, which may include excavating deep into the red planet. In July 1997, NASA’s Pathfinder landed on Mars and began its mission to demonstrate how a robotic rover would land on the red planet.
Using an innovative design, the rover landed on Mars with a parachute and a series of giant airbags to cushion its blow. The Carl Sagan memorial station and the Sojourner Rover outlived their projected lifespan, and in the years following sent magnificent images back to Earth.
The lander returned more than 16,500 images and the rover sent back 550 more, in addition to chemical analyses of rocks, soil, and data on wind and weather. The final transmission from the Mars Pathfinder was on September 27, 1997, but the data it provided helped scientists to conclude Mars was once wet and warm, and rounded rocks on the surface indicate they may have been worn down by running water, and if there was water, there could have been life.
Flash forward to today, NASA’s Perseverance Rover, on the red planet since February of 2021, is tasked with finding past or present life and seeing if humans could one day explore or colonize Mars.
Perseverance is collecting samples to determine if they contain any fossils of ancient Martians. But a new study led by Alexander Pavlov, a space scientist at NASA, says they might have to dig a lot deeper.
Pavlov argues that amino acids could be the best evidence of any past life on Mars, but after millions of years of radiation, all those amino acids on the surface would have been destroyed, writing, “Our experimental results suggest serious challenges for the search of ancient amino acids and other potential organic biosignatures in the top 2m of the Martian surface.” Two meters, or roughly seven feet, may not sound like much, but Perseverance can only dig a few inches.
“Microcraters are common on Mars,” Pavlov told Vice. “Small impactors can excavate rocks from several meters of depth. Cosmic rays are significantly reduced by two-meter depth into a rock and do not penetrate at all below four meters. Therefore, an ejecta from such depths would have a small exposure time to cosmic rays and thus, may contain the primordial unaltered amino acids from billions of years ago.”
In 25 years of humans studying the surface of Mars we have learned so much, but as Pavlov concluded in his study, “We have only scratched the surface of this problem.”
With every problem comes the opportunity to figure out a solution and perhaps this will help us find life on Mars.
How to Prepare for Upcoming Solar and Lunar Eclipses
Eclipse season will be here soon, here’s what you can expect and how to prepare for this cosmic dance between the Sun, Moon, and Earth.
Both solar and lunar eclipses hold strong energy in astrology. They can shake us up and stimulate change within ourselves to reach our highest power. We will soon see a partial solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse. What can we expect from these cosmic events?
“Eclipses take place when we have lunar events, which are full moons or new moons that fall close to the nodal axis,” Astrologer Mercedes Arnus Arraut said. “So what is the nodal axis? The nodal axis is the axis of intersection between the orbit of the moon around the Earth and the orbit of Earth around the Sun. That intersection has a north and south, and those points are called nodes. So, the north node represents our destiny; or future, where we’re headed as humanity, what is our destination, what is our direction, where do we need to focus on. In the south, the south node represents our past; what we need to purge, what we need to cleanse, what we need to integrate, what we need to let go…”.
The first eclipse will be on April 30, but Arraut says we will feel it a lot sooner.
“We usually start feeling it around a month before the first eclipse takes place. So, this first eclipse that takes place, the 30th of April, brings many changes into our lives, since all eclipses are like catalysts that align us with our highest purpose. Eclipses literally will cleanse, detox, and be used as tools to show us what path we need to follow,” Arraut said.
Soon after the solar eclipse,we will see a lunar eclipse in May. How does this relate to the solar eclipse we just had?