Continuous studies regarding the planet Mars tend to conclude that large regions of the planet could offer a viable environment for the developing of life. Australian scientists reached the conclusion that life was possible on Mars at some point in the past, and don’t reject the possibility that some portions may still be able to offer the necessary elements for sustaining life.
Recent studies regarding the position of the Sun and how this affects the planets that form the solar system concluded the existence of the so called ‘habitable zone’, this being a specific zone around any star (in correlation with the star’s properties), a zone where is not too cold and not too hot in order for liquid water to exist; liquid water being the primary ingredient that can generate life. Surprisingly, Mars, besides Earth, is the only know planet within a habitable zone, this fact making life possible on Mars.
Further testing of the pressure and temperature conditions revealed that around 3% of Mars could sustain life at one point; though it was mostly underground (only 1% of the Earth is habitable today). Therefore, at least microscopic organisms could constitute life on planet Mars in the past, maybe even in the present.
Taking into consideration the low-pressure environment present on planet Mars, it is certain that water would vaporize on the surface, but underground the pressure is within normal values for liquid water to exist. The planet’s core also proved to be invaluable for the existence of life forms of any kind, acting like a power and heat source, given that the temperature on the surface is around minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit (the equivalent of minus 63 degrees Celsius).
Keeping in mind that, in theory, mankind and all the flora and fauna of planet Earth originated from microbial life, the discoveries regarding life on Mars are quite significant, opening the door to many possibilities and theories regarding the origin of life and its development on other planets across the Universe.
The Curiosity Rover will follow in the footsteps of the Mars Rover as the new and the more complex robotic explorer ever constructed by mankind and is scheduled to land on Mars in August of 2012. This sophisticated piece of machinery is programmed to make good use of its features (laser beams, tool kits, drills, robotic arm, sensors and cameras) in order to find and report any relevant data regarding the living organisms that existed on Mars. Other objectives of the mission involve the radiation levels that exist in the Mars’ atmosphere as well as the Martian weather.
Given the current conditions on Mars and the limits of NASA’s project, relevant data regarding life on Mars may not be found but Curiosity’s mission will certainly provide important information that mankind can explore.