The 2010s saw big advances in Mars exploration, but the new decade may bring even more exciting news — the possible discovery of Red Planet life.
Scientists learned a great deal about the history and evolution of Mars in the last 10 years. NASA’s Curiosity rover mission led the charge, determining that at least some parts of the planet were capable of supporting Earth-like life for long stretches in the ancient past.
“It’s been a very successful and very enlightening mission, in terms of figuring out that Mars was a habitable planet,” Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said last month during a media roundtable at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco. “And now we can go [to] the next step of the program and figure out if life ever took hold.”