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What is common between Earth and Mars?

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About 3.8-3.5 billion years ago, Mars and Earth were much more similar. Evidence from Mars missions suggest Mars may have been much warmer and wetter than we observe it to be today. In this timeframe, scientists found the first evidence of microbial life on Earth. Perhaps Mars followed a similar trajectory.

If microbes were present on Mars in the planet’s ancient past, maybe they still exist today. Like Earth, Mars has polar ice caps and clouds in its atmosphere, seasonal weather patterns, volcanoes, and canyons. However, conditions on Mars vary greatly from what we know on our own planet. Over the past three decades, NASA has made spacecraft voyages to Mars. They have revealed to us that Mars is rocky, cold, and dry beneath its sky. They have discovered that today’s Martian wasteland points to the existence of volcanoes, meteors, craters, and flash floods. Among NASA’s discoveries about Mars, one is most remarkable: the possible presence of liquid water on Mars, whether in its past or existing today.

The discovery of water on Mars is all the more significant because water is a sign of life. If Mars either contained or contains liquid water, perhaps there could be or have been microscopic life forms on Mars’s surface. Because water is key to life as we know it, earlier Mars missions were designed to make discoveries under the previous Mars Exploration Program science theme of “Follow the Water.” Discoveries related to evidence of past and present water in the geologic record make it possible for NASA to take the next steps toward finding evidence of life itself. The Mars Science Laboratory mission and its Curiosity rover mark a transition between the themes of “Follow the Water” and “Seek Signs of Life.”

In addition to landing in a place with past evidence of water, Curiosity is seeking evidence of organics, the chemical building blocks of life. Places with water and the chemistry needed for life potentially provide ideal conditions for organic matter. Future Mars missions would likely be designed to search for life itself in places identified as potential habitats. Even if Mars does not show past or present life, however, there are more discoveries to be made. NASA is working on having humans travel to and reside on Mars. Newly developed technologies will enable NASA to explore Mars in novel ways, resulting in higher-resolution images, precision landings, longer-ranging surface mobility and even the return of Martian soil and rock samples for studies in laboratories here on Earth.

Meanwhile, NASA scientists still have a lot to learn about the extreme environment on Mars. Searching for the answers to these pressing inquiries about Mars means delving into the planet’s geologic and climate history to find out how, when and why Mars underwent changes in its atmosphere to become much less like the Earth we know today.

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GradesFixer. (2019, February, 27) What is common between Earth and Mars? Retrived April 9, 2020, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-is-common-between-earth-and-mars/
"What is common between Earth and Mars?" GradesFixer, 27 Feb. 2019, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-is-common-between-earth-and-mars/. Accessed 9 April 2020.
GradesFixer. 2019. What is common between Earth and Mars?, viewed 9 April 2020, <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-is-common-between-earth-and-mars/>
GradesFixer. What is common between Earth and Mars? [Internet]. February 2019. [Accessed April 9, 2020]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/what-is-common-between-earth-and-mars/
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