“The main conclusion that can be drawn from the studies carried out by Curiosity, and this was one of the objectives of the mission, is that Mars was habitable for a simple form of life.“, rejoices Valérie Mousset, project manager of the “Mars Science Laboratory” (MSL) and Curiosity at the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) in Toulouse.
“There was liquid and stable water, and the presence of the molecules necessary for microbiological life“, she adds.
At a slower pace, in order to spare its abilities, the robot advances towards a valley 800 m wide, at the bottom of which the scientists believe they can glimpse the remains of a canal. “We wonder if this is not one of the last flows on Mars“, indicates Olivier Gasnault who hopes to verify this hypothesis.
“Curiosity has enabled a change of scale in planetary exploration, by bringing a small laboratory on site, but also to establish strategies and ask the right questions for the next missions.“, explained Olivier Gasnault in the premises of CNES, a few days before the tenth anniversary of the landing of the robot.
The scientist cites the example of SuperCam, another tool built with the participation of CNES “thanks to everything we learned to make it a better instrument“.
This device on board Perseverance, the last rover to arrive on Mars in 2021, is capable of analyzing the chemical elements likely to form minerals but was also able to record the first Martian sounds in May 2021, while maintaining high maneuverability.