Is There Life Out There?
Since 1976, when the Viking Landers took off toward the red planet, people have been wondering if there is life on Mars. There have been questions of pictures taken from Mars and skepticism about why some of the recent landings have failed.Scientists, up till now, have been doubtful about life on Mars.
Everything changed on August 7, 1996, when NASA and President Clinton told the world that a very primitive life form had been found in a meteorite, from 1984. President Clinton had this to say about the matter: “This is a product of years of exploration and months of intensive study by the world’s most distinguished scientists. Like all discoveries, this one will and should continue to be reviewed, examined and scrutinized.” After Clinton said this it was almost as if a scientific boom had occurred. NASA research teams of scientists at Johnson Space Center began to look for life as well. NASA began to send robots and Satellites to Mars. Unfortunately, they found nothing or lost contact with the robots or Satellites in the process. During the year of 1999 NASA sent up two rockets toward Mars and both were failures. Due to the failures, time has been given for scientists to blueprint a credible and step-by-step search for life on the Red Planet. Without the pressure to return Martian samples to Earth any time soon, new schemes for automated, on-the-spot detection of past or present Mars life can be flown.
Recently, two probes were sent back and they made it to Mars. They landed on the South Polar Caps of Mars. That is where NASA plans to find water. After landing on Mars, the probes extracted water like crystals from the surface of Mars. They found that there was a small amount of water in the crystals, which means that there is a strong chance that life, was on Mars at one time.
In a recent interview with Bruce Jakosky, Ph.D., Professor of Geologic and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado, Linda Howe asked a series of questions pertaining to Mars and what had exactly happened to the planet. The first question was: Q.) “What might have Caused Mars to lose both its surface water and magnetic field?” A.) “The CO2 that would have produced a greenhouse atmosphere could have been lost to space. It could have been incorporated into the ground as carbonate minerals, and once that happens, the water could have frozen out in the ground. It might have been lost to space as well. I think that’s one of the goals of the next decade aside from the life question to try to understand what happened to the climate.” I found that this question was interesting because it explains what might have happened and why the Martian life died off. Later in the interview he explains that the life could not have died off by just a comet, but rather “the turning off of the magnetic fields of the planet”. This would thus strip the land of everything it ever had, including water and air. Dr. Jakosky, also touch on the fact that, Mars is a small planet and that the core of it would have gone into a frozen state in order for this to happen about 3.5 billion years ago. During the interview Dr. Jakowsky also added this insight: “Although life at the Martian surface would have been possible only 3.5 or 4 billion years ago, life could have existed on Mars any time from 4 billion years ago all the way up to the present. And if it does exist, it would be below the surface.” This interview and quote gives good insight that there is a good possibility that there is life on Mars, deep in its core.
I feel that there is life on Mars and that it is just a matter of time of when they get back to Mars with better equipment to dig further to find an alive organism. According to NASA in a recent press release, they plan to take missions to Mars in the year 2003 and 2005 to bring samples back to Earth by 2008. During this time the world will be able to see that Mars was once a thriving world and that there is still life there even though it might be small, it will be life. That will mean that, “There is life on other planets and that we are no longer alone.”