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Seeking signs of habitability

Created by NASA.

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  • ohnoes default style avatar for user Cyan Wind
    I wonder if Curiousity has travelled about 1/5 the surface of Mars until now?
    (43 votes)
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    • leaf grey style avatar for user patoof
      No, it hasn't. Curiousity's top speed over flat ground is approximately 0.14km/h, so about 2.3 metres per minute (remember that most of the surface of Mars is rocky and uneven, so the actual speed could be quite a bit lower than that). The diameter of Mars is 6,779km, so it is impossible that it could have travelled 1/5 of the surface of Mars.

      You should also remember that it has to constantly stop to analyse rocks, to take photographs and of course, to wait for instructions from the programmers working on Earth.
      (43 votes)
  • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Rob
    Were the NASA robot designers inspired by the design WALL-E?
    (3 votes)
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  • cacteye yellow style avatar for user Karlar
    Do you think that there was/is life on Mars? I think that it is an interesting idea that life might be on Mars. : )
    (8 votes)
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  • sneak peak green style avatar for user Cybernetic Organism
    If life was present on Mars millions of years ago, what proof do we need? What would be the signs of life? Are scientists looking for any particular molecules?
    (5 votes)
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    • male robot hal style avatar for user r2b3ac
      They are searching for three things. The first 2 Are the ingredients of Water, H2O. Hydrogen and Oxygen in other words. They are looking for this because life as we know and think of it revolves around water. Thay are also looking for Carbon. All living matter is carbon based. Though I have heard through my Chem Professor that some places are looking for other ways to get life other than a Carbon base. anyways those are the molecules that scientists are looking for.
      Signs of life is a little bit more difficult. My best guess is that they are looking for Water Erosion. While not inherently a sigh of life, it does allow for possibilities of life.
      Finaly we don't know if microbial organisms exist or ever existed on Mars. The only proof that we could find one way or another is either through micorscopes, and that assumes that there is life on Mars, and fossils, fossils which would likely be found from the many volcanoes on Mars, but even then you would still need microscopes to prove that they existed.
      (5 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user 是人杰 Ross.Shi
    Why doesn't curiosity have solar panels on it's body? What energy does it rely on when traveling? If the power one day runs out, will NASA just leave it on the surface of mars as space junk? Or the rover could survive with it's energy source it recently has for long enough and our technology increases and from then on we will be able to send special probes or rovers to refuel it on it's power so that it could go on for more and not run out of power?
    (5 votes)
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  • male robot donald style avatar for user Gimli9
    when did curiosity launch?
    (4 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Grace Daniel
    In the picture, where does Curiosity get its energy because it doesn't have solar panels?
    (2 votes)
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  • marcimus red style avatar for user lyonsken000
    i was reading about the future and it said people could live on mars. could this really happen one day.
    (3 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Dakvin
      Yes, several space agencies, such as NASA and SpaceX, are working on this right now. The problem with Mars is that it currently is not habitable by humans, so we'd need to take our own self contained habitats if we want to live on Mars in the near future. In the long-term we might be able to terraform Mars to be habitable by humans, though that's somewhat of a long shot.
      (1 vote)
  • ohnoes default style avatar for user Leon
    What would happen if Curiosity were to flip over because of the uneven terrain of Mars?
    (2 votes)
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  • winston baby style avatar for user michael
    what would happen if life was possible on mars
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

Music Curiosity is not a life detection mission: we're not actually looking for life. We don't have the ability to detect life if it was there. What we are looking for, is the ingredients of life. The Mars Science Laboratory takes this Curiosity Rover with this incredible set of payload instruments to figure out if Mars ever could have supported microbial life. By that we mean a place where micro organisms, little tiny single-cell organisms could have lived and that requires a source of energy and water because all life as we know it is associated with water, and then we also need a source of carbon. Curiosity is going to land at Gale crater. We're going to be climbing a mountain. In fact, one of the first things we'll see when we wake up the first day on Mars is this giant mountain in front of us just waiting for us a few miles away. And in that mountain there's a stack of layers, and like turning the pages of a book we will explore these layers and look at them in terms of whether or not they preserved evidence for ancient habitable environments. So you can think of Spirit and Opportunity as robotic geologists. Curiosity goes one step further; it's not only a robotic geologist, but a robotic geochemist. We need a bigger rover this time around because we've got ten science instruments and two of them fit inside of the belly of the rover. We bring some state-of-the-art laboratories to do very detailed geochemical analysis of the rocks and soils on Mars and the atmosphere as well. We have to feed those instruments by getting samples of rock with a big robotic arm and a drill on the end of it. And then we of course want to have all of our eyes and our other senses that we need with cameras and other detectors to monitor the weather and other things as well. The reason it's important to have this capability is, this brings us back to how we address the question in search for habitable environments again. We need to make those measurements in order to know that if life had evolved on Mars, would this be the kind of place where microorganisms could have lived. Music