NASA recently launched its newest land rover on the mission to Mars and they called it ‘Curiosity’. These high tech robots are equipped with some of the most advance equipments and measurement tools on the planet, and are designed with highest amount of precision possible to ensure that they perform effectively for what they are made for, but after some landings and years of research, what have scientists discovered really interesting? Let’s look at these some most important discoveries about Mars.
Mars Look like the Earth
If you look carefully at pictures of other planets and moons in the solar system, Mars looks a lot like our Earth. Its sand, rocks and even its color look similar to the Earth’s, and most importantly it has a solid ground that you can stand on. The planet is like a desert with no proof of life and its surface reminds of deserts on the Earth. It has hills, wind and an atmosphere of CO2 and a few other gases.
If you look at some pictures sent by robots you will find them like they were taken somewhere in the middle of a desert on the Earth except the environment is much dustier, colder, cloudy and a lot red in color. This is because of a huge amount of dust and CO2 in the atmosphere.
Existence of Strange Martian Soil
At some places on Mars especially near slopes and craters, there is an underlying layer of silica rich soil just few centimeters below the brown sand. It was first discovered when Phoenix’s tracks displaced the top layer of sand and revealed strange white color sand. The robot’s test instruments indicated the presence of magnesium, chlorine and sodium. It is unsure what caused the white sand to form but some scientists put forward their theory that the white sand was formed by water or organisms which existed in the past.
Two Polar Caps
Mars has two polar caps one on each North and South Pole of the planet. The polar caps are formed when a polar side of the planet hides behind the other side of the planet from Sun causing the CO2 to freeze. But when it is exposed to sunlight, the dry ice converts back into gas and create winds which can blow with speeds of up to 400km/h.
Possible Presence of Water
Scientists are desperate to find a definite proof of water on Mars. The series of Martian landings and experiments have indicated and shown some compounds which are only formed in the presence of water such as salt molecules. They have not found a definite sign of water but some results indicate that there was once water such as a small amount of water molecules in air, presence of hematite that only occurs where there is water, dried streams and canals, and several other evidences but no significant amount of pure water.
Similar Geographical Features
Similar to Earth, Mars also has tectonic plates which scientists learned about after analyzing several images taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Its surface also has a series of canals which scientists believe that water once flew in them.
All these discoveries mean that planet Mars has some activities that need further research for better understanding of strange things on its surface.