Skip to comments.Road trip on tap for NASA's Mars rover in the new year
Posted on 12/29/2012 6:42:05 PM PST by BenLurkin
Curiosity will now head for Mount Sharp in mid-February after it drills into its first rock.
"We'll probably be ready to hit the pedal to the metal and give the keys back to the rover drivers," mission chief scientist John Grotzinger said in a recent interview at his office on the sprawling NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory campus, 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of downtown Los Angeles.
The road trip comes amid great expectations. After all, it's the reason the $2.5 billion mission targeted Gale Crater near the Martian equator. Soaring from the center of the ancient crater is a 3-mile-high (5-kilometer-high) peak with intriguing layers of rocks.
Curiosity's job is to figure out whether the landing site ever had the right environmental conditions to support microbes. Scientists already know water flowed in the past, thanks to the rover's discovery of an old streambed. Besides water, life as we know it also needs energy, typically provided by the sun.
What's missing are the chemical building blocks of life: complex carbon-based molecules. If they're preserved on Mars, scientists figure the best place to hunt for them is at the base of Mount Sharp, where images from space reveal hints of interesting geology.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
It would make a lot more sense to look for resources which would ease the task of colonization.
The last thing we want to do is find life. That would forever render the planet untouchable.
Evidence of past life can be more easily found by men on foot.
I’d hate to be the rover driver who rolls it
Flo the insurance lady is gonna be pissed.
“oops, did I do that?”
Gotta get prepared.
sane one cracks, already insane, its a snap
I think a lot of people would like to find life on MARs. The easiest way to do that is to put people there and then the question is answerable in the affirmative and we can move on to other questions.
People can act with intuition and move much more quickly.
Robots are incredibly slow and are literally only scratching the surface.
If you want there to be life on Mars, then send some peeps and voila, there will be life on Mars. Problem solved. Question answerable in the affirmative.