NASA To Drive Curiosity To Potential Water Sites On Mars

Posted: Jun 25 2016, 8:03am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
NASA to Drive Curiosity to Potential Water Sites on Mars
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Don't Miss: This How to find Fingerlings in Stock

The US space agency is planning to drive the Curiosity Rover towards water sites on the Martian surface to further investigate the long, seasonally changing dark streaks briny water in the hope of finding evidence of life.

"It is not as simple as driving a rover to a potential site and taking a scoop of soil," said Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science.

"Not only are these on steep slopes, we need to ensure that planetary protection concerns are met. In other words, how can we search for evidence of life without contaminating the sites with bugs from Earth?," he added in a NASA statement.

After approval of mission extension, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover would continue to climb to higher and younger strata on Mount Sharp -- mountain in Gale crater -- to investigate how the ancient, water-rich environments found till now persisted as the red planet dried out.

A stroll on these destinations would help the one-tonne rover closer to locations where dark streaks are present on slopes and allow it to capture images of the potential water sites from miles away and see if any are the seasonally changing type.

NASA's High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has observed many features of interest. They appear as dark lines that appear to ebb and flow over time.

"Planetary scientists think these gullies or recurring slope lineae (RSLs) may appear seasonally as a form of briny water at or near the surface of the Red Planet under warmer conditions," NASA said.

NASA is also worried about how close could the rover safely get to an RSL?

"In terms of coming much closer, we need to understand well in advance the potential for Earth organisms to come off the rover and that will tell us how far away the rover should stay," said Catharine Conley, NASA's planetary protection officer.

The darkish streaks are considered "special regions" on Mars, where extra precautions must be taken to prevent contamination because of the suspected presence of liquid water, considered a prerequisite for life.

Holiday Gift Guides and Deals

Get your Holiday gifting inspired by Best Toy Gifts with High STEM Value and the Top 10 toy gifts under $10 if you are on budget. The most popular Holiday 2017 toy list include Fingerlings, Crate Creatures and more. Don't miss the new Holiday deals on Amazon Devices, including $29.99 Fire tablet.

This story may contain affiliate links.

This free App Solves You Holiday Shopping Problem


Download the free Tracker app now to get in-stock alerts on Fingerling, Luvabella, SNES Classic and more.

Latest News

Comments

The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/59" rel="author">IANS</a>
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) was established in 1986, initially to serve as an information bridge between India and its thriving Diaspora in North America. Now IANS is a full-fledged wire agency, putting out news 24x7 from around the world.

 

 

Advertisement

comments powered by Disqus