Perseverance, the largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world, touched down on Mars yesterday. The $2.4 billion rover arrived at Jezero Crater, a basin that scientists say was once flooded with liquid water.
Since 2019, NASA's InSight's probe, called the “mole,” has been attempting to burrow into the Martian surface. Martian soil’s tendency to clump deprived the mole of the friction it needs to hammer itself to a sufficient depth.
InSight is the first mission dedicated to looking deep beneath the Martian surface. Findings reveal a planet alive with quakes, dust devils and strange magnetic pulses. However, the lander's mole is still stuck and scientists are working on getting it digging again.
Scientists now propose using an insulating material called silica aerogel to make parts of the Martian surface friendlier to photosynthetic life. Perhaps an aerogel blanket could more easily melt the water on the Martian ice caps to make a small section of the planet habitable.
NASA is testing out a new inflatable heat shield which could enable them to send heavier missions to Mars, as well as Venus and Titan.
The signal appears to have been generated inside the planet and not by any surface-level phenomenon. Three other seismic events were detected on 14 March, 10 and 11 April, but they were much smaller and their origins more ambiguous.
Curiosity Mars rover has started drilling into a clay-bearing unit on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, while the InSight's mole ran into a sub-surface obstacle of some sort on 28 February after hammering its way just 30 cm into Martian soil.
There was a big stir when reports emerged that the Curiosity rover had detected methane on Mars. But now an independent source has also detected methane on Mars.