NASA Scientists Stimulates Mars Environment
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NASA Scientists Stimulates Mars Environment

Practice for A Trip To MarsNASA team overseeing the Mars 2020 mission collaborated with the European and Russian scientists from the ExoMars mission to perform experiments in Australia outback- the remote and uninhabited areas of Australia.

These areas of Australia is a useful simulation of the Mars environment due to its high temperatures, low humidity, and remoteness and another environmental condition similarity. Both the Mars 2020 and ExoMars will be searching for evidence of ancient life on the Red planet, the trials in Australia focused on finding and identifying tiny fossils that indicate past life existed in the area.

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Ken Farley, the project scientist for Mars 2020 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that The Pilbara Outback is home to the oldest fossilized lifeforms on Earth, called stromatolites. Farley added that if scientists of NASA can better understand how these fossils were found here as well as the geological signpost, finding signs of life on mars would be more comfortable.

This trip to Australia involved practicing research techniques for the extraction and identification of samples, which will be a crucial function of the Mars 2020 mission. The ExoMars mission includes a rover with a mini chemistry laboratory on board for analyzing organic compounds such as amino acids, etc. which could be evidence to the previous life on the planet.

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This is not the first time that NASA scientists have made use of extreme environments on Earth to test various technology intended for use on the Mars Mission. NASA has run trial rover missions in the Atacama desert in Chile, which also has the same environment as that of Mars. Other tests performed by NASA Scientists of the Mars 2020 rover included putting the rover in a freezing vacuum chamber for a week to assess its resilience to the harsh environment of Mars.

According to Mitch Schulte, Mars 2020 program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said that NASA Scientists Stimulating the Mars Environments is a crucial part of a successful Mars mission. He added that the scientists of Mars 2020 and ExoMars are doing their due diligence before their tasks make the 100-million-plus-mile  trip to the Red Planet in the same way as Apollo astronauts visited various areas of geologic interest on Earth before their journey to the Moon.

The Mars 2020 mission is scheduled for launch in July 2020 and reaches Mars in February 2021. The ExoMars mission will be launched just a few days after Mars 2020 and should arrive on Mars in March 2021.

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Rahul Mishra is a Science enthusiast and eager to learn something new each day. He has a degree in Microbiology and has joined forces with Biotecnika in 2019 due to his passion for writing and science.