Mars Rover: to Strike New Ground at NASA

Mars Rover: to Strike New Ground at NASA

The quest for Martian life can lead the next NASA Red Planet rover to a site already explored by one of its smaller cousins. Columbia Hills / Gusev Crater, which the Spirit Rover has studied intensively from 2004 to 2009, is one of three landing sites finalists for the agency’s upcoming Mars Rover, a life hunting machine scheduled to launch in 2020. Spirit found Evidence of an ancient hydrothermal system, which means that Columbia Hills / Gusev once received liquid water and a source of energy – two of the key ingredients necessary for life as we know it.

Because NASA’s stated goal for the rover 2020 is to look for signs of past microbial life, the fact that we can point to potential signs of microbial life among the rocks in the Columbia hills is an important reason to retreat. We know from a series of observations by Spirit that the rocks found next to Home Plate, those of opaline silica, probably formed in channels of discharge of hot waters the extraordinary similarities in their forms, textures and mineralogy with rocks of silica that we find between the Thermal waters of El Tatio, Ruff noted that the samples collected in El Tatio are formed from a combination of biology and geology, so there is a possibility that the rocks of Martian silica are formed in the same way.

NASA held a landing decision meeting in Monrovia, California The meeting involved more than 250 spacecraft scientists and engineers, who participated in person or over the Internet. After the meeting was over, the participants spent several days discussing options and voting. They eventually settled on three potential landing sites for the Rover 2020. In addition to Columbia Hills / Gusev, the researchers also selected Jezero Crater. A place that exhibits a dried lake and possibly a store of past microbial life and Syrtis Major Northeast. A large volcano shield next to an impact basin; The area was probably warm and humid a long time ago, Another upcoming Mars 2020 landing workshop will be held next year. That meeting will help refine the sites, but the final call falls on NASA headquarters.

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