New Mars rover “Curiosity” landed Mars on August 6. According to the comments of its creators, the purpose of this sophisticated device is in participating in long term robotic exploration of Mars (Webster par. 2). In particular, the mission of this Mars rover is to attempt answering the question that has been boggling people’s imagination for decades of whether there exists life on Mars. The rover will search the living conditions on the planet to make conclusions concerning its “habitability” by small living forms such as microbes (Webster, par. 8). The rover is rigged with an onboard laboratory designed for studying the local geologic setting, soils and rocks which will offer a basis for detecting chemical joint parts of life such as carbon and hydrogen compounds, and assessing Martian atmosphere and living conditions during the previous periods of time.
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On August 6, 2012, Mars rover “Curiosity” successfully landed in Gale Crater (“Curiosity Safely on Mars!” par. 3). The purpose of the rover’s work is in examining different chemical joints taken from the Martian mineral samples and Martian atmosphere to define whether the planet can be habitable for humans or any other living organisms during the current period of time, and whether it was habitable for any kind of life in the past (Howell par. 5). Ashwin Vasavada, the main scientist responsible for the project explains, “when we were designing Curiosity, we were going to use it for our habitability investigations as well, but it really is paid for and intended to understand the environment humans will experience on Mars” (Howell par. 4). To make such important conclusions, the specially constructed onboard laboratory of “Curiosity” will carefully examine different samples of Mars’ soils and rock along with the samples of gases from its atmosphere. Such analysis will provide a basis for assessing the living conditions on the planet now and in the previous periods of time. As the condition of rocks and soil depends on the conditions of environment, and is actually a record of the planet’s history, it will be possible to identify whether Mars was ever inhabited before (Howell par. 7). In addition, the rover is rigged with the Radiation Assessment Detector which will be used in order to measure the level of radiation from the galactic cosmic rays and the Sun. Such radiation assessment is also very important in identifying the level of habitability of the planet.
The chemists working with this project put a lot of work into it. First of all, getting to Mars was related to a number of important researches which resulted into constructing Hazard-Avoidance cameras. According to “Curiosity Safely on Mars”,
All Sol 0 spacecraft activities appear to have been completely nominal. These
include firing all of Curiosity’s pyrotechnic devices for releasing post-landing
deployments. Spring-loaded deployments, such as removal of dust covers
from the Hazard-Avoidance cameras (Hazcams) occur immediately when
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pyros are fired (par. 6).
However, the major part of work for chemists will occur during analyzing the forms of Mars’ rocks, soil samples, and atmosphere gases. During these investigations, the scientists will make their conclusions concerning the possibility of existing life forms consisting of carbonic compounds.
In conclusion, the new Mars rover “Curiosity”, having recently landed the surface of the red planet, is the embodiment of scientists’ hopes to eventually answer the question concerning the existence of life on the other planets which have been boggling people’s minds for decades. The onboard laboratory of “Curiosity” is aimed to conduct a number of chemical researches to identify whether life was possible on Mars before, and whether humans would be able to live on Mars in the conditions currently existing there.
Curiosity Safely on Mars! Health Checks Begin 2012. Web.
Howell, Elizabeth. Mars Rover Curiosity to Double as Martian Weather Station. 2012. Web.
Webster, Guy. Five Things About NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover. n. d. Web.