Baronger's Scribblings

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Mars Blogging

Spirit and Oppurtunity have now been roaming about the surface of the red planet for over a year. Currently Oppurtunity seems to be in a better shape with regards to it's powersupply; while dust is threatening is giving Spirit a gloomy outlook. What was originally a 90 Sol (Martian day of 24 h 37 m), has now progressed to 380 sols for Oppurtunity and over 400 for Spirit, with no end in sight.

Thanks to the Rovers, we have a better understanding of water conditions in the past. We also have evidence from the orbiting Euro satellite of the possibility for a dust covered frozen lake. It is described as being similar to some of the frozen lakes in Antarctica. It is theorized that liquid water gushed onto the surface, and froze. This is the second time that I've seen this theory. It had been previously used to explain the erosion channels that are seen cut into the side of various Mars canyons. With water there might be life and we might not be alone.

With water existing in liquid form below the surface the possibility that we are not alone inches up. Evidence of volcanic activity hints that the interior of Mars might still be hot. On Earth we have found bacteria miles below the surface, that survive by living off of minerals such as sulfur and iron. The Antarctic Mars meteorite is thought to show evidence of these type of bacteria (by coincidence Spirit found a chunk of the same meteorite on Mars). Since we might have a warm and hospitable (for bacteria) submartian environment, similar to environments that support bacteria on Earth things are looking up for life on Mars.

My hope is that we can eventually send a probe with a drilling rig to Mars. I don't think we have the current technology, but I have hope for the future. We would probably need to drill about a mile down to find anything. There is some hope of finding caves for easy access, however I see the wildcatting method as being the more practical for now. My hope now is that we send a deep drilling probe within the next 15 years to look for these bacteria, or positive evidence for their presence.



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