NASA is making public the findings of the US space agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars on Monday.
Young Nepali space scientist, Lujendra Ojha, whose research suggested water could be present in the red planet, has also been included in the list of guest speakers — indicating that NASA may officially confirm the presence of water in Mars among other findings.
What about potential of alien life? We have to wait for the news conference, which NASA said is to announce “Mars mystery solved”.
Ojha is currently a PhD student at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
According to NASA, the event will be broadcast live on NASA Television as well as the agency’s website at 1:45 pm NST (11:30 a.m. EDT) today.
Ojha first spotted the signs of possible saltwater flows on Mars. He was 21-year-old then.
In 2014, NASA revealed that its spacecraft orbiting Mars returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.
“We still don’t have a smoking gun for existence of water in RSL, although we’re not sure how this process would take place without water,” Ojha, who is lead author of two new reports about these flows, said in 2014.
Ojha originally discovered them while an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, Tucson, four years ago, in images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA had confirmed the possibility of liquid essential for life existence on Mars, in a press conference on August 4, 2011.
Ojha was an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona when he discovered the theory in images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera.
Along with Ojha, Jim Green (director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters), Michael Meyer (lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters), Mary Beth Wilhelm (of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and the Georgia Institute of Technology), Alfred McEwen (principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) at the University of Arizona in Tucson) are participating at the news conference, according to NASA.
NASA on February 10 said that its spacecraft orbiting Mars has transmitted clues about the seasonal features of the Red Planet, strongly indicating the possibility of existence of liquid water in the planet.
jha and assistant professor at the Georgia Tech James Wray studied 13 RSL sites out of 200 images obtained from the same orbiter’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument.
But their collective study failed to find any spectral signature tied to water or salts.
However, they found distinct and consistent spectral signatures of ferric and ferrous minerals at most of the sites they studied.