According to NASA, the Perseverance Rover has four objectives supporting the program’s science goals:
|Looking for Habitability:||Identify past environments capable of supporting microbial life|
|Seeking Biosignatures:||Seek signs of possible past microbial life in those habitable environments, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time|
|Caching Samples:||Collect core rock and “soil” samples and store them on the Martian surface|
|Preparing for Humans:||Test oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere|
That all sounds wonderful and I’m the first to support scientific research to help mankind into the next century and beyond. None of us knows where these experiments may lead.
However, we may not get the results until halfway through the present century. The cost is billions.
So let us not lose sight of the fact we are in the middle of a viral pandemic which may yet destroy our civilisation. Earth is, again let’s not forget, experiencing global climate changes threatening to destroy our civilisation. Where is the resolve and expediency to solve those two problems? Politically we have failed to heed the medical evidence for the former and internationally we have all but given up, despite the diminutive Greta Thunberg, on the latter. Depressing thoughts I know.
So today’s news of the Mars probe doesn’t fill me with joy as it should. I’m not certain how the possible advances in science in 40 to 50 years will bring us back from the present catastrophe of our own making.
This morning a hedgehog wandered across my lawn, the first I’ve seen this year. Apparently, they are in serious decline. If we can’t protect this wonderful creature what is the point of going to Mars.
So I’d like to re-phrase that question. Is there life on earth?
And obliviously I can’t resist the girl with mousy hair – but maybe we will never know.