Looking at Mars, you may assume that its a dead, boring dust gatherer. But the same can be said about a field in the middle of nowhere on Earth. That is until a farmer finds a rock that turns out to be a megalith from an ancient temple. Mars could work the same way, as a planetary wide archeological site as science says that the planet was much warmer and had ample water, even boasting a decent atmosphere. These things were in place for long enough that life on Mars could have sprung.
Uncovering former life on Mars
Recent times have sparked a lot of interest in discovering past habitability on the planet. To pursue this goal, MSL Curiosity, is going about Mars to see what it can see. The rover is not alone on the planet, as the InSight lander from NASA is on the planet, but it is no currently looking for past signs of life on Mars.
Curiosity rover is cruising around Gale Crater, currently searching for evidence that indicates the planet sustained life in the past. The crater is a former lake bed and is a stellar location for uncovering life form remains.
As a former lake bed, Gale Crater was chosen for its complex nature. It should contain minerals from its previous existence that hold clues on past life forms. But there is an obstacle to the research. The body of water was filled with sediment that later turned to stone that then started to erode into dust.
Hope lies in the presence of water on Mars
Scientists believe that the underground system the lake was linked with lasted longer than the body of water on the surface. Making for a more intact dig site. Even as the planet was starting to lose its viability for sustaining life, bodies of water still persisted for perhaps a billion years.
Curiosity rover has landed on Mars since middle 2012 and is still operational. The machine has surpassed its initial mission of 687 days and will soldier on until its radioisotope thermoelectric power unit is no longer functional.