Life on Mars

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This panoramic view of Mars is, to say the least, captivating. Mars largely remains a mystery. Did life once exist there; does it still exist? This recently released video by Elderfox Documentaries has put together a series of images taken by the Mars Rovers. The result is a stunning panoramic view rendered in 4K quality of the surface of the red planet. An image of an area known to NASA as Glen Torridon was pieced together from over 1000 images take by Curiosity Rover between November 24 and December 1, 2019.

NASA has successfully launched three rovers: Spirit (2004-2010), Opportunity (2004-2019) and Curiosity (2012-today).

Mars is just a skip over 102 Million miles away from me as I sit in my humble abode here on this blue-green sphere. So it is mind-boggling seeing these images taken from the Mars Rovers.

The video explains that NASA has colourised the images to help geologists better identify rock formations. This has also resulted in a much a higher level of detail than we would otherwise see. The colouring also results in us seeing blue skies on Mars – which in reality are a hazy red colour.

I went to the NASA Mars website and fell down a rabbit hole. Better than a wormhole I suppose. Wow, NASA has some fantastic websites. Do yourself a very big favour and visit the NASA’s Mars Exploration Program website. Be warned though you might spend some hours there – it’s totally fascinating with exceptional animations, mission details and Mars facts.

NASA’s Mars Exploration Program Mission Statement reads: The goal of the Mars Exploration Program is to explore Mars and to provide a continuous flow of scientific information and discovery through a carefully selected series of robotic orbiters, landers and mobile laboratories interconnected by a high-bandwidth Mars/Earth communications network.

According to the website the next Mars Rover – Perseverance – launches aboard a Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral somewhere between July 30 and August 15 2020. It is hoped that the Mars 2020 Mission will land in the Jezero Crater on February 12, 2021. So we can expect even more images in the not too distant future

Above – Portrait of Perseverance and Ingenuity (Artist’s Concept) – Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Many countries, as well as private consortia, are already well advanced with planning for umanned missions to Mars within this decade. Elon Musk’s Space X has been looking for willing recruits for what would be a one way trip to Mars. There’s no coming back.

On the Space X website Elon Musk writes: You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great – and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.

So what do you think? Is there life on Mars?