Perseverance rover Photograph:( AFP )
Mars is a planet that comes closest to resembling Earth in our solar system. It's no wonder that it appears to be the most likely candidate to start our hunt for alien life.
Mars has enthralled us since time immemorial. The red dot in the night sky has represented God of War in some cultures and it has also given rise to tales of alien life. Mars is a planet that comes closest to resembling Earth in our solar system. The planet has an atmosphere, is almost the same as that of Earth, and it is just next door in the Solar System. It's no wonder that it appears to be the most likely candidate to start our hunt for alien life.
Perseverance, NASA's rover, is currently on the Martian surface. It is now hunting for signs of life on Mars' surface.
SuperCam, a bundle of instruments aboard Perseverance has already collected samples of Martian rocks and soil. It is hunting for signs of past life on the planet that is now just barren wastelands (as per our current understanding at least).
It is already known that Mars had liquid water on its surface millions and millions of years ago. And the crater in which Perseverance made its landing in had a lake millions of years ago!
Where there is water, there is life. At least that's what our logic here on Earth says. Is it perfectly true even in case of celestial bodies? That's what is being ascertained.
The return to Earth years from now of the rocks and soil it retrieves "will give scientists the Holy Grail of planetary exploration," Jean-Yves le Gall, president of France's National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), which mostly built the mobile observatory, commented via a YouTube broadcast.
These "pieces of Mars", he said, may "finally answer this fascinating and fundamental question: was there ever life elsewhere than Earth?"
Our movies and books have been full of Martian invasions against Earth. Based on what we are hearing from Perseverance now, no invasion against Earth is being planned from the surface of Mars right now.
Jokes apart, even signs of ancient life on Mars would be a big discovery.
This will prove that we were not alone in this universe, and that life always finds a way even in harsh conditions.
(With AFP inputs)