Is there life on Mars? We may soon find out

Forty years ago, space engineers launched a probe that would play a pivotal role in changing our understanding of our place in the cosmos. On 30 May 1971, Mariner 9 was dispatched to Mars on an Atlas Centaur rocket and in November that year slipped into orbit around the Red Planet.

In doing so, the American robot spaceship became the first manmade object to be placed in orbit around another planet. Humans had added an artificial satellite to another world. A few days later, two other spacecraft, Mars 2 and Mars 3, both built by the Soviet Union, followed suit and achieved Martian orbit. In three weeks, the Red Planet had become a scientific hotspot.

Thus began a revolution in our understanding of the solar system, a family of planets that space probes have shown to be far stranger and more exotic than expected, with Mars producing the largest number of surprises. Mariner 9 showed it possesses the solar system’s largest mountain and its biggest canyon, while ancient riverbeds and streams were discovered at several sites, findings that have been confirmed and explored in far greater detail by subsequent probes and which continue to maintain hopes that we will one day find signs of life on another world.

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Categories: Astronomy, Science

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  1. “Do not the Unbelievers realize that the heavens and the earth were a solid mass, then We split them asunder and We made every living thing out of water. Will they then not believe?” (Al Quran [Sura Anbiyya] 21:31)

    In this verse Allah makes some far reaching and profound claims. The precision of the claims and their accuracy in light of modern science is a proof of the truth of these claims. Allah then asks a rhetoric question that should not these accomplishments and His sharing of this information with the mankind, make them believe in His existence. Allah starts the description of onset of life with the mention of starting of the Universe with the phenomenon of the Big Bang. After the creation of the universe and the solar system through the natural mechanisms, God directed His attention to the creation of Life, and as always is the case with His creativity, the Omniscient and the Omnipotent resorted to the natural mechanisms. He utilized Laws of Nature for the creation of life on this planet earth.

    The phrase ‘We made every living thing out of water,’ means that every living thing was made of water as its essential component. It could equally mean that every living thing originated in water. The two possible meanings are strictly in accordance with scientific data. Life is in fact of aquatic origin and water is the major component of all living cells. Without water, life is not possible. When the possibility of life on another planet is discussed, the first question is always: does it contain a sufficient quantity of water to support life?

    Most organisms are made up of more than 50% water. In the case of humans, water makes more than 70% of the weight of the body. In some organisms like Jelly Fish their bodies are 98% water.

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