The international astronomical community is currently beginning to draw attention to the fact that exploring Mars is falling behind in space agencies' priorities, regardless of the importance such studies have. The Red Planet is our Rosetta Stone to the Universe, scientists say.
Back in the 19th century, as linguistics experts were struggling to decipher the Egyptian hieroglyphics, a breakthrough came when the Rosetta Stone was discovered.
This was an inscription that contained the same proclamation in three different scripts, of which two were known, and the third was hieroglyphics. Analysis of the tablet therefore allowed researchers to understanding the ancient Egyptian language.
It could therefore be argued that the Rosetta Stone was invaluable in this effort, and this is precisely why the term is now used to indicate any clue, object or phenomenon that provides a breakthrough in understanding a new field of research.
The Martian surface is a modern-day analog to the ancient clay tablet. Studies conducted there could enable us to say for sure whether the prevalene and diversity of life as natural processes are common in the Universe.
If not, we may be the children of a statistical fluke. But if signs of past lives are found on Mars, then we are but one in a very large ocean of countless civilizations,. All that is needed for this solution to become true is for a single Martian bacteria to be found on the Red Planet.
A few billion years ago, Mars had everything a planet theoretically needs to become able to support life – liquid water in plenty, an atmosphere, as well as gravity. Therefore, if life is a succession of chemical processes and hazards, then surely there is no reason for it to not have occurred on Mars.
“If we can go to Mars and find evidence of past life, then we will have proven that the development of life from chemistry is a general phenomenon in the Universe,:” says Mars Society founder Robert Zubrin, in an interview with Discovery Magazine.
“If life will develop wherever it has a decent planet, it means that the Universe is filled with life. And if life is everywhere, it means intelligence is everywhere,” Zubrin adds.
“It means we're living in an inhabited Universe. This is something that thinking men and women have wondered about for thousands of years, and we can find out the answer to this if by going to Mars,” he adds in the interview.
Fortunately, missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL or Curiosity) and the European Space Agency's (ESA) ExoMars, are already under development and ready to be deployed soon, Daily Galaxy