We’re already testing crops grown on Martian soil, so of course it’s only natural that we begin searching for water on the Red Planet as well. After all, we need to get it ready for our habitation, right? NASA certainly thinks so, and the space agency has suggested that the Curiosity rover begin its quest for liquid sustenance. The rover will take a closer look at recurring slope lineae (RSL), which are the streaks seen near the planet’s Gale Crater for signs of H2O. After taking initial photographs with its mast camera, the rover will make its way to the area in question to collect samples. And hopefully, results will confirm what scientists said last year — that liquid water does indeed exist on Mars.
The presence of water on the planet would be a huge step forward in establishing Mars as a viable alternative for Earth, should the need arise. And the hope is that if there’s water, there might also be signs of life on Mars.
Of course, it’s unlikely that even if living organisms are present on the Red Planet and the Curiosity manages to take samples, they wouldn’t survive the sterilization process, or the harsh conditions on Mars itself. All the same, being able to prove the presence of water could catalyze further missions to Mars, perhaps with even more exciting revelations.
“Soon, hopefully within a year, we will be in a position to take higher-resolution images of the area that’s purported to be an RSL, at a much higher resolution than that of MRO [Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter],” Jim Green, Director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, told Aviation Week of the rover’s upcoming expedition. “And then we’d be able to observe it … and say, ‘no, that’s really a dust slide,’ or watch it change.”
So get excited, friends. Your second home away from Earth may be becoming more viable after all.