For long scientists have thought that Mars has got water on it. So far three space crafts have visited Mars but in different locations. The recent one was nicknamed
For about as far as its camera could see the land was flat, but shaped into polygons between 2-3 meters in diameter and bounded by troughs that are 20 cm to 50 cm deep. These shapes were due to ice in the soil expanding and contracting due to major temperature changes.
The microscope showed that the soil on top of the polygons was composed of flat particles (probably a type of clay) and rounded particles. Also, unlike other places visited on Mars, the site had no ripples or dunes. Ice was present a few inches below the surface in the middle of the polygons, and along its edges, the ice was at least 8 inches deep.
When the ice was exposed to the Martian atmosphere, it slowly sublimated (change of state of a substance from a solid to a gas without first becoming liquid). Some dust devils (whirlwind into which dust and debris gets caught up, making it visible) were observed also.
Snow was observed to fall from cirrus clouds. The clouds formed at a level in the atmosphere that was around -65 degrees C, so the clouds would have to be composed of water-ice, rather than carbon dioxide-ice (dry ice) because the temperature for forming carbon dioxide ice was much lower—less than -120 degrees C.
As a result of the mission, it was now believed that water ice (snow) would have accumulated later in the year at this location. This represented a milestone in understanding Martian weather. Wind speeds ranged from 11 km to 58 km per hour.
The usual average speed was 36 km per hour. These speeds sounded high, but the atmosphere of Mars was very thin—less than 1 % of the Earth’s—and so did not exert much force on the spacecraft. The highest temperature measured during the mission was -19.6°C, while the coldest was -97.7°C.
Before it run out of power due to low batteries and extreme cold temperatures, the polar region, the lander had done a lot of activities on Mars.
Surface chemistry findings.
Results published in the journal Science after the mission ended reported that chloride, bicarbonate, magnesium, sodium potassium, calcium, and possibly sulfate were detected in the samples.
Perchlorate (ClO4) (Perchlorate is an ion, or charged particle, that consists of an atom of chlorine surrounded by four oxygen atoms.
It is an oxidant, that is, it can release oxygen, but it is not a powerful one. Perchlorates are found naturally on Earth at such places as Chile’s hyper-arid Atacama Desert.
The compounds are quite stable and do not destroy organic material under normal circumstances. Some microorganisms on Earth are fueled by processes that involve perchlorates, and some plants concentrate the substance.
Perchlorates are also used in rocket fuel and fireworks), a strong oxidizer, was detected. This was a significant discovery. The chemical has the potential of being used for rocket fuel and as a source of oxygen for future colonists.
Under certain conditions perchlorate can inhibit life; however some micro organisms obtain energy from the substance.
The chemical when mixed with water can greatly lower freezing points, in a manner similar to how salt is applied to roads to melt ice. So, perchlorate may be allowing small amounts of liquid water to form on Mars today.
Gullies, which are common in certain areas of Mars, may have formed from perchlorate melting ice and causing water to erode soil on steep slopes. See photo below
Is life possible on Mars according to some scientist researchers?
Life as we know it on earth requires a certain environment to survive. Even so, there are creatures on earth which seem to be able to survive in harsh environments, where the temperatures are very cold, or where there is little water or oxygen. It is environments like these which are similar to those found on other planets.
Sophisticated life forms are relative new comers on Earth compared to bacteria. Because the environment of other planets is more primitive, life on other planets (if it exists) may be primitive and unsophisticated.
If not, life would have developed the ability to withstand other worldly environments as well as finding material for nutriment (anything which promotes growth and repairs the natural waste of animal or vegetable life; food; aliment). We might have to imagine what such creatures would be like.
In 1996, scientists mistakenly thought that they had discovered life on Mars. But, there has not been any concrete evidence as of yet of life anywhere in the solar system besides Earth. currently no hope for life yet on Mars.