If you asked a scientist what the basic building block of life is, the answer would be water. Therefore, when NASA’s Curiosity Rover recently found evidence suggesting that the Red Planet (Mars) was not always completely dry, thoughts of previous life forms come to mind.
Evidence of Ancient Lakes
In 2012, the Curiosity Rover landed close to an area officially named Aeolis Mons: An area that is now referred to as Mount Sharp (named after Professor Robert P. Sharp, 1911-2004). Since landing in 2012, the rover has continued moving around the planet. In 2014, the rover reached the base of Mount Sharp, at which point scientists realized that the evidence the rover gathered may suggest that Martian lakes were full of life. While the Curiosity Rover had already found evidence suggesting that lakes existed on Mars’ older, lower-lying layers of rock, these more recent photos show evidence of desiccation cracks (ancient mud cracks).
Martian Cracks May Indicate Drying Mud
Scientists believe that the visible Martian cracks on Mars were created by drying mud. The creation of mud requires water, which is why scientists are excited. They believe that this ancient mud was created billions of years ago, when an abundance of lakes covered the surface of the planet. If Mars was wet, it was inhabitable: Hopes are that this discovery helps prove that living organisms once thrived on the Red Planet.
Mount Sharp’s ‘Old Soaker’
The Martian rock slab that is referred to as ‘Old Soaker’ is located on the lower portion of Mount Sharp. NASA officials state that the network of cracks seen in this rock slab most likely formed 3 billion years ago, resulting from the wet and dry cycles of the planet.
Evidence suggests that as time passed Old Soaker’s cracks were buried beneath sediment, which led to the creation of stratified rock. Wind erosion eventually exposed this layer, leaving behind raised ridges of dust and sand, which filled the cracks. However, these ridges are more resistant to erosion than the mudstone surrounding it is. According to NASA, at Old Soaker, there is evidence of underground fractures caused by pressure from the overlying sediment.
Mars’ Dried Mud Resembles Dried Mud on Earth
Nathan Stein is a graduate student at California’s Institute of Technology who interned at NASA. Stein headed the investigation in to Old Soaker. He states that four- and five-sided polygons are visible in the photos, which do not look like the fractures they have previously seen in pictures attained by the Curiosity Rover. He states that this pattern of polygons resembles what one would see on Earth next to the road where mud has dried and then cracked.
Another Curiosity project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada, states that if the markings are mud cracks, they adhere to the context of what the team is seeing in the section of Mount Sharp that they have been climbing for months. The ancient lakes of Mars varied in their extent and depths: Over time, the lakes disappeared. Vasavada states that the team is seeing additional evidence suggesting more dry intervals between what had been, for the most part, a record of long-lived lakes.
Layers of Mudstone, Sandstone and Cross-Bedding on Old Soaker
Besides the network of mud cracks, scientists discovered evidence of scattered layers of mudstone, sandstone and cross-bedding. Cross-bedding refers to a pattern of rock layers that are created as water crosses over a loose sediment. NASA officials state that this pattern of rock layers can form from windblown sediment during a dry cycle or when water flows more forcefully near the lake’s shore. Continued observations of the planet’s Mount Sharp will assist scientists in determining when Mars became a completely dry planet and why it happened.
Is Curiosity Rover Being Stalked by An Alien Soldier on Mars?
According to THE SUN’S recent post, STARSHIP TROOPER Conspiracy theorists claim to have spotted ‘ancient Martian soldier’ left frozen on Mars in photos taken by Curiosity Rover, an intriguing object (that some believe is an alien soldier) was discovered while sifting through NASA archives. Although conspiracy theorists believe that the picture depicts an alien soldier ‘stalking’ the Curiosity Rover as it moves around the Red Planet, others state that it actually represents a rock formation. However, these images will most likely heighten the inquisitiveness of those who claim that the Curiosity Rover also took photos of other ancient Martian solders and walled cities on the planet.
A Final Thought
Truth be told, I have always been intrigued by the thought of alien life. I feel that it is quite presumptuous of man to believe that he is the only ‘intelligent’ life in the universe. So, I guess that means that I do believe aliens exist. However, I am not alone in my belief: President Ronald Reagan, General Douglas MacArthur and Professor John Dewey expressed their belief in extraterrestrials:
- President Ronald Reagan
On Dec. 4, 1985, he spoke of his summit with Gorbachev. President Reagan made a comment related to alien life during their Geneva meeting: “how easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from some other species from another planet outside in the universe. We’d forget all the little local differences that we have between our countries …”
On Feb. 17, 1987, Gorbachev verified President Reagan’s remark in a speech stating: “At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestrials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion. I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it’s early yet to worry about such an intrusion…”
- General Douglas MacArthur
In 1955, while speaking to West Point cadets, he stated: “The next war will be an interplanetary war. The nations of the earth must someday make a common front against attack by people from other planets.”
- Professor John Dewey
(Philosophy, Columbia University) stated in 1917: “Someone remarked that the best way to unite all the nations on this globe would be an attack from some other planet. In the face of such an alien enemy, people would respond with a sense of their unity of interest and purpose.”
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