Liquid water is one of three key ingredients needed for life - at least life as we know it. Life's recipe also requires an energy source, such as solar or Red Sole Shoes chemical, and a source of carbon. "One of the ingredients of life is water. We're now looking to see if we can find other conditions that are necessary for life," said Mary Voytek, director of NASA's astrobiology program. A key goal for the Mars Science Laboratory is to find organically produced carbon, a tricky proposition because almost Red Bottom Shoes every process that makes rock destroys organics. "Even on Earth finding signs of past life isn't easy. Whatever was happening biologically, if anything, for the first 4 billion years there is no record? For the first 3 billion years, there's no rock record either," Grotzinger said.
One technique that has proven useful on Earth is to search for Red Bottom Heels chemistry that can preserve life, a system scientists are adopting to hunt for signs of life on Mars as well. On early Earth for example, minerals, such as silica, are important because they preserved the record of carbon. "Let's assume life did evolve on Mars. Where are the places that have habitable environments and the highest preservation Christian Louboutins Outlet potential?" he said. "If you do this as a random walk, you're doomed to failure because you only have so much time and the clock is ticking."
If the Mars Science Laboratory touches down safely, which is by no means a given, scientists expect to have two years to collect information about Mount Sharp and the surrounding area. NASA hopes to land the rover on a flat surface as close as possible to the base of Mount Sharp using a first-of-a-kind, rocket-powered sky crane. The exact landing spot will depend on Christian Louboutins Shoes the craft's final steering maneuvers as it races toward Mars. Mission managers said on Monday they would aim for a 12- by 4-mile (20- by 7-km) patch of land, far smaller than original estimates, which would shave off months of drive time to reach the mound. The rover blasted off aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket on Nov. 26 for a nine-month, 60-million mile voyage that is due to end at 1:30 a.m. EDT on Aug. 6.