When NASA announced the discovery of water on Mars, we all thought it would be the biggest discovery related to Mars in this century. But since then, there have been multitudes of more significant and jaw-dropping discoveries that somehow slipped from the mainstream media.
Currently, NASA has two rovers and three orbiters which are solely designated for exploring Mars; 2 more are on their way. Below is the list of 7 of the biggest discoveries made by NASA.
The discovery of Impactite is ground-breaking. It is a type of rock created from a meteorite impact. This is often a mixture of various rocks, minerals, glass and crystals that are formed through shock metamorphism.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has recently detected deposits of impact glass that were preserved in several craters on the Red Planet. In 2014, a scientist Peter Schultz discovered similar impact glass in Argentina, preserved plant matter and organic molecules. So this is significant because it shows that Mars’ impact glass could contain traces of ancient life.
The MAVEN spacecraft was launched with the goal of studying Mars’ atmosphere. Based on its observations, Mars has a pretty sweet hairstyle that actually consists of electrically charged particles blasted away by solar winds from its upper atmosphere. The electrical field is mainly generated by the incoming solar winds, but by other powerful solar events as well like coronal mass ejections and solar flares. This creates a polar plume diagram which bears a resemblance to a “Mohawk haircut.”
If our far-fetched plans of habituating the Mars are ever to be materialized, then we will need to develop ways to feed the colonists on the Red Planet. According to scientists at Wageningen University, we are up to four vegetables and cereals which would be safe to grow and consume in Martian soil.
Those crops include tomatoes, radishes, rye, and peas. These Dutch scientists have been growing the crops in a Mars-like soil which was developed by NASA. However, Mars’ soil is known to contain high levels of heavy metals such as copper and cadmium. Food grown in the soil of Mars didn’t have enough of these heavy metals to be considered as “dangerous levels.”