It’s been a few years since humans started exploring the fourth planet from the Sun for signs of life. The similarities between Mars and Earth led to this investigation. The size of the planets, the sidereal rotation, axis tilt and the fact that they’re both terrestrial planets was enough to kick start investigations.
One of the biggest projects in Mars exploration was initiated by Elon Musk. His company SpaceX has launched many rockets that have successfully landed on the surface of Mars. A closed chapter a decade ago, Mars exploration has become the centre of attraction in these past few years.
Lately, scientists have been hell-bent on proving the existence of life on the red planet. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) successfully landed their rover “Curiosity” in 2012. Christopher House, a professor at Penn State University in a press release talked about the discoveries made in Mars’ Gale Crater.
“Gale Crater appears to have been a lake environment. The water would have persisted for a million years or more.” The team managed to locate a mudstone in the crater and also find that “the whole system, including the groundwater that ran through it, lasted much longer, perhaps even a billion or more years.” The presence of sulphur in these fractures provides evidence that water ran through the rocks later.
If you’re wondering what the Gale Crater is, here’s a little information. The Gale Crater formed when a meteor hit Mars nearly 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago. The impact punched a hole in the terrain. Why is finding sulphur a reason to believe that life may have existed on Mars in the past? Minerals and sulphates are byproducts of water.
“Gale is special because we can see both clays and sulfate minerals, which formed in water under different conditions.” You can read more about the Gale Crater here. If the Red Planet had enough time to develop life once, it could be the case again.
Stay tuned for more exciting updates here!