Life On Mars? — NASA To Make Major Finding Announcement On Monday 28 September 2015

NASA has announced on its website that Mars will be the subject of exciting new discoveries regarding such possible topics as the conditions which were, or currently are, hospitable for life. The discovery of liquid water on Mars, for example, would be a major discovery. We can only speculate, of course, until Monday when the official announcement will take place.

“NASA will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars.”

It is with the help of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), that surface features of Mars can be studied in fine detail, stretching only 10km apart in the detail of such images as those recently featured on their website.

Let's untangle the history of certain formations in this image of sand dunes trapped inside an unnamed crater in southern Terra Cimmeria.
This particular region has been studied intensely due to the presence of volcanics from Syrtis Major and impact ejecta from the Isidis Basin.

Images such as those above show that the terrain of Mars is diverse and in particular has been subjected to erosion and possibly active internal heat processes that would, for example, melt and freeze water over cyclical periods which could be observed by comparing two HiRISE images taken at different times, or by correlating with finding from the Rover missions.

There are many questions about Mars that are left unanswered. Did life on Earth originate on Mars? Has water ever flowed on the surface of Mars? Were the conditions of life ever present on the surface and if so, did life — even microbial life — ever develop? But perhaps the most tantalising of all questions: are we not alone in the universe? Could life outside Earth have been discovered? It would be arguably the most revolutionary discovery of all time if this is the case. More likely, however, will be the discovery of evidence that could begin to answer some of the questions above, e.g. the discovery of liquid water.

In the meantime, a human colony is already planned.

Preparations for the colonization of Mars are already under way. The Mars One mission will be a “one way” trip to Mars in 2024. Short-listing has already begun on this project, and a second trip would follow only two years after as the beginning of a permanent settlement on the red planet. Significant discoveries, such as liquid water or other habitats and Mars features that aid in the prospect of finding life, or fossils of life, would certainly gain the attention this project needs to continue to draw funding.

Some believe the evidence has already been put out there, and this press conference is just to confirm what these images were already showing, as seen in the video below.

[Images courtesy of NASA / JPL / University of Arizona]