Joint Europe-Russia Space Mission Seeks to Find Alien Life on Mars

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 - 11:33AM
Alien Life
Mars
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 - 11:33AM
Joint Europe-Russia Space Mission Seeks to Find Alien Life on Mars
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Image credit: YouTube
The European Space Agency (ESA) is teaming up with Roscosmos, the Russian equivalent of NASA, for ExoMars, an ongoing, long-term mission to try to find alien life on Mars. After years of work, the project is now taking its first steps to sample the Martian atmosphere in order to find out whether lifesigns can be detected anywhere on the planet.

While some amateur Martian analysts insist that seashells are easy to spot on the Red Planet's surface, the majority of experts insist that thus far, we haven't found any evidence on the surface of Mars to suggest that there are living creatures hiding from our rovers.

Instead of taking this bad news at face value, many space organizations around the world, including the ESA and Roscosmos, have found an impressively firm resolve, as they now continue the search for alien life by looking for evidence beyond simple alien sightings.

So what if little green men haven't already walked up to Curiosity and begun poking it with a stick? That doesn't mean that aliens aren't hiding somewhere on Mars, and as these two space agencies work together, they're hoping to prove that life really does exist on other planets in the solar system.

Where our visuals from the Red Planet have thus far failed us, the ESA and Roscosmos intend to find out more about Mars and its potential inhabitants by studying the chemicals that make up the world's thin atmosphere.

This is a big mission, and there have already been setbacks along the way. In 2016, the Schiaparelli lander, designed as a first phase in this plan, crashed into the surface of Mars when it failed to stick the landing after months in space.



Thankfully, Schiaparelli was only a minor test for a larger part of the plan. The lander was accompanied on its journey by the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), a satellite which is still in orbit around Mars, and which in the coming months will descend into the planet's upper atmosphere in order to take readings.

If all goes well, we should very soon be able to tell what components are present in the Martian air that might hint at the existence of life.

Some potential signs of life have already been detected—we know, for example, that levels of methane within the Martian atmosphere fluctuate based on the season, which suggests that microscopic life forms may exist underground, breeding in larger numbers when the weather is warmer, and then going dormant during Mars' cooler months.

That said, this isn't enough conclusive proof to guarantee the existence of Martian aliens, and as such, the TGO may well provide a more detailed insight into what signs of life we should be keeping an eye out for as we look closer at the planet.

All of this is building towards the crowning jewel of the collaboration between the ESA and Roscosmos; a specialized rover, intended for launch in 2020, which will be able to travel across the rocky Martian surface, trying to find more concrete evidence of life.

Admittedly, we do have a habit of accidentally contaminating Mars with our own terrestrial bacteria, but with any luck, this future rover will be able to find something on the planet that definitely wasn't put there by mankind.

With evidence for the existence of aliens proving more and more difficult to find, this mission, a collaboration between 29 different research organizations around the world, might just be our best chance yet of finding life on Mars.
Science
Space
Alien Life
Mars
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