NASA’s Curiosity rover has bored into a Martian rock and pulled out its first sample of the planet’s insides to analyze. This could be the first step to mining Mars.
In New Scientist, Lisa Grossman quotes NASA’s Louise Jandura as saying, "This is the only time anybody’s drilled into Mars. Getting deeper into the rock allows us to unlock a kind of time capsule into what Mars was like 3 or 4 billion years ago."
The easiest way to figure out what’s up there might be to analyze a Martian meteorite right here on Earth. This space rock has been frozen in Antarctic ice (which is now melting and revealing its hidden secrets) and gives evidence that the surface of Mars contains chemicals that are in household bleach right here on Earth. Will the Red Planet eventually turn into the White Planet? This makes it less likely that we’ll find life on Mars.
Astronomer Sam KounavesIn studied a meteorite found in 1979. In New Scientist, Lisa Grossman quotes him as saying, "We’re speculating that you perhaps cannot find organics on the surface of Mars. You have to be below the surface or inside sedimentary rocks." The Mars rover carries a drill, but not a very deep one.
Grossman quotes Mars rover project scientist John Grotzinger as saying, "The odds of rolling up to a rock on Mars and finding organics are vanishingly small. But we’re still going to try."
If (when?) life is confirmed on Mars, we guarantee we’ll be the first to tell you–IF we’re still here tomorrow. Here’s something the other news outlets DIDN’T tell you: WE may be Martians! Maybe we’re the losers in an intergalactic war (Subscribers can still listen to this show). Make sure we’re still around to give you great news from the edge: Subscribe today!