Our big MOM in the Sky
|   Sep 30, 2015
Our big MOM in the Sky
While India's MOM is out there diligently gathering data there has been more exciting news about the red planet. Mars, that has been the subject of so much science fiction and captures the imagination of so many who are intrigued by the possibility of unearthly origins of life is once again the focus of attention.

What we discover about our enigmatic neighbor in dribbles, has had our hopes yo-yo up and down several times. Is there life on Mars or not? Seems like we are one step closer to finding out and a little more optimistic. NASA confirmed evidence of liquid water on Mars

A little history: Some of the earliest missions to Mars in the seventies revealed the possibility of water on Mars in the distant past. Pictures indicated the possibility of dried up rivers and plains that were once submerged under lakes. (Source) These pictures fueled our imaginations inspired many movies and cartoons about those adorable or frightening little green men? Then there was a period when extra terrestrial life seemed unlikely and claiming contact with extraterrestrial life would likely land you in a psychiatrists office if not the loony bin. 
But earlier this year NASA found evidence of oceans that may have covered half the planets Nothern hemisphere!

The latest finding: But here is what is truly exciting. NASA has found evidence of liquid water on mars right now, flowing on the planet during the summer months. This enhances the possibility of microbial life on today's Mars. So very exciting! Scientists are hopeful that living specimens will give much more insight into the alien biology than the signs of ancient life they were earlier looking for. Interestingly the water stays liquid at temperatures quite below zero degrees centigrade, because it is a salt water solution that has a significantly lower freezing temperature.

MOM: India sent it's MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) up on 5th November 2013 and it has been orbiting Mars since 24th September 2014. What an exciting time to be up there! India is the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt. India's MOM cost approximately ₹450 Crore (US$73 million) making it the least-expensive Mars mission to date. (source)

These findings of liquid water on mars will probably inspire a whole new generation of astronauts and exobiologists and ignite the imagination of so many of our kids. I am certainly tempted to write a Tania story about this. May be someday we will terraform Mars and have settlements there just like Asimov thought we would or may be we will discover interesting indigenous life forms there and learn something new. Hey I can dream, can't I? So can our kids.

This article mainly summarizes information available here and here. Please visit these pages for more information and do visit NASA's and ISRO's websites too if you are keen on these subjects.

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