ExoMars is one of two upcoming rovers set to land on the Red Planet. Image Credit: ESA
NASA's chief scientist Dr Jim Green is optimistic that the next rovers to visit Mars will find evidence of alien life.
The search for life on Mars could be about to yield some very interesting results thanks to two new rovers that will be heading to the Red Planet in the very near future.
ESA's ExoMars rover, which has been dubbed 'Rosalind' after British chemist Rosalind Franklin, will be equipped with a special drill that it will use to retrieve samples from 6.5ft beneath the surface.
These will then be crushed up and analyzed using the rover's on-board scientific equipment.
NASA's own Mars 2020 rover will also soon be heading to the Red Planet where it too will be searching for signs of life. One of its tasks will be to collect and prepare samples of material for collection by another spacecraft that will later return them to the Earth for study.
Dr Green is so confident about the possibility of finding evidence of life that his focus has turned towards the question of what would happen if such a discovery were to actually be made.
"It will start a whole new line of thinking," he said. "I don't think we're prepared for the results."
"Is that life like us? How are we related? Can life move from planet-to-planet or do we have a spark and just the right environment and that spark generates life - like us or do not like us - based on the chemical environment that it is in?"
Suffice to say, the next couple of years of Mars exploration should be very interesting indeed.
Source: Independent | Comments (5)