The wait is finally over. After years of acting tough through years of begging for funding for various programs, NASA has finally declared it official: It’s time to find life on Mars. And they are in the final stages of preparing the device for a launch to the red planet in 2011. It’s mission is simple: find life on Mars. After years of waiting, this is one big project that may change the world, the solar system, and perhaps our perception of the whole universe if it yields a positive reading in Martian soil.
The device is equipped with state of the art equipment designed to penetrate the surface through use of X-rays, and identify any possible creatures living in the soil. The object is expected to land on the red planet in time for the Mayan calendar to come to an end, but not before enjoying a hopeful and fond farewell from NASA employees who are hoping the days of speculating whether microbial (or larger) life can survive on Mars are long over, and that the new age of robotics will usher in a new age of discovery.
The device will be heavier than Spirit, more advanced than Opportunity, and more resilient than any other craft previously deployed to the Martian surface in terms of both sustainability and simply ability. If the launch is successful, then the device will go a long way toward both studying the surface of Mars and several inches beneath the surface as well. No extraplanetary rover of this scale has ever been designed before, and Curiosity is expected to be the first to truly change the face of science and how we look at other planets. And it will need all six wheels to have their own drive engine to navigate the surface of the red planet during its two year mission. An advanced suspension system will keep instruments onboard well maintained and out of harms way as it navigates rocky rough terrain and attempts to carve out a place for itself.
In 2005 when methane was first detected on the Martian surface, NASA finally received the indication it had been waiting for since its inception. The evidence has been consistently pointing to the possibility of life on Mars ever since. Long thought to be our neighbor the dead red planet, there are now reasons to think that the Martian surface may not only be able to sustain microbial life, but in time with the assistance of considerable research that it could one day be made in the image of Earth itself and harbor in a new age of human colonization. Of course a manned mission to mars, let alone colonies, are several years from now. But the discovery that life could be sustained on the planet in one form or another opens several new doors to researching the alien life forms (even if they are just simple microbes) that we may encounter there. The future of NASA and the human race get ever more exciting each year.