Vladislav Shevchenko, head of the department of lunar and planetary studies at the Lomonosov Moscow State University Sternberg Institute, assessed the possibility of human exploration of the planet Mars after NASA published the first images after landing the Perseverance rover.
According to him, the published videos show a high level of technology, but the existence of life on the Red Planet is still impossible to be sure. The expert recalled a number of experiments, including “ExoMars” with the participation of Russia and the EU, which discovered fluorine compounds on Mars.
“Lately, for me, as an observer with some knowledge in this field, regarding questions of life, the answer becomes not very sure. We will wait to see what the set of studies on the Mars rover will show,” Shevchenko told TV channel 360.
The scientist pointed out that the Perseverance landing site looks like a dried-up river bed or lake.
“As they say, where there is water, there is life. But we need facts. Other than circumstantial facts, there are no others yet,” said the specialist.
Shevchenko also noted that humanity will not be able to develop the Red Planet in the near future because of the huge radiation.
“Martian expeditions and relocations to Mars in the near future is an unrealistic thing because of the strong radiation,” the scientist stressed.
According to him, to protect people from radiation, it is possible to create special aluminum cabins, but their thickness should not be less than one meter. It is possible to reduce flight time, but technologies that would provide this have not yet been invented.
The American planetary rover Perseverance successfully landed on Mars on February 18. The apparatus touched the surface of the planet at the estimated 23:55 Moscow time. The Earth received a signal of safe docking. Three minutes later, Perseverance transmitted the first black and white image.
The Americans launched the Mars 2020 mission last July. With Perseverance NASA plans to detect possible traces of life on Mars in the distant past. The rover should collect soil samples, which are planned to be returned to Earth in 2031 with another vehicle.