Science Weekly: Mars rover reveals planet could once sustain life

The Mars Opportunity rover hit its 10th anniversary on Mars, which coincided with the landing of the Spirit rover on the planet as well as a special release of “Exploring Mars Habitability” in the journal “Science” on Jan. 24, 2014.

The special release announced the findings that some of the first materials Opportunity ever analyzed showed that, roughly 4 billion years ago, Mars had liquid water fresh enough to have possibly supported life.

NASA’s major focus for the last decade of research with the Mars rovers has been to determine whether or not the planet was ever inhabitable.

Paulo de Souza, a member of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization team led by Cornell University professor Steven Squyres, reported the evidence was gathered from satellite images of valleys and the analysis of rocks conducted by the rovers.

The latest research found the earliest episode of water activity as well as extensive deposits of water that is among the freshest water and the most ideal for sustaining life.

Although the planet, it seems, did once contain liquid water, it seems also to have contained the same acidity as vinegar.

Opportunity’s research was only supposed to last months and roam only a few hundred meters, but the decade has gone by with Opportunity roaming the Martian surface for 38 kilometers. Opportunity’s research with rock-scrapers, chemical sensors and spectral analyzers has yielded significant data that has provided scientists a richer knowledge of Earth’s neighbor.

Information gathered from