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Mars Rover instruments and Quantum computing models collaborate to analyze Mars Ecosystem

by gps4us news 2011-11-23 12:44


Curiosity Mars RoverMars Science Laboratory with artificial intelligence research capability is scheduled to lift off on in three days and reach Mars in less than a year. It will deliver a rover vehicle which looks like an extremely advanced version of ancient Lunokhod. Collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency Mars has lead to the creation of newest research platform named Curiosity that carries an array of instruments that can detect methane in the thin Martian air. Earlier studies revealed traces of methane gas detected with high probability. Methane molecules are sensitive to the upper spectrum of light and  could easily get disintegrated by ultraviolet light from the Sun. The short lifetime of methane gas molecules in the Martian atmosphere is indicating that the methane traces should have been released recently. 

While the space mission will be in progress scientists will continue to use the supercomputing methods of modeling the atmosphere and the ecosystem of Mars to build the theoretical foundation for methodology leading to the discovery of sources of micro organisms life present on Mars. Some of the supercomputer models reveal the possibility that objects of  Mars ecosystem containing microbes could have been blasted into space by asteroid impacts and later landed on Earth, seeding micro organism life forms here. Sophisticated instruments which Curiosity Mars rover will deliver to the red planet will be used to conduct microbe life chemistry experiments, analyzing the soil and find new traces of the organic building blocks of life. Curiosity rover will continue the earlier NASA missions delivered last two rovers, the Spirit and the Opportunity, which have found convincing evidence of life seeding environments formed in the distant past. 

Mars Rover Getting Ready for the MissionThe computational models created by scientists using the quantum computing methods allow to improve and further analyze the past geology and climate changes of Mars. Complimenting each other the Mars rover missions and supercomputer modeling methodologies are looking for evidence of liquid past environments that were habitable for certain class of micro-organisms that live without oxygen and produce methane. There are microbe forms which contain carbon-based molecules, including methane that are the building blocks of life forms.  The quantum computing technology centers capable of conducting theoretical and experimental research into all aspects of quantum information processing including the chemical analysis of the planet atmosphere. 

Creating and analyzing the virtual model of Mars ecosystem is among most complex tasks which recently has become doable as it could be simulated by utilizing the extreme power of world's first operational quantum computers. There are several quantum computing research centers using early commercial models of quantum computers. They include supercomputers introduced by Toshiba and D-Wave and used to perform experimental research studies at USC Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center. The newest supercomputers have been used for artificial intelligence research and complex simulations which helped optimize advanced models for space mission support projects including the next generation GPS constellation positioning navigational systems. NASA scientists are also working on developing a quantum computing technology that could dramatically enhance the power of life forms search capabilities based on evidence brought by NASA Viking lander experiments searching for organic building blocks of Martian life and NASA Phoenix lander discovery of chemicals known as perchlorates in the Martian soil. 

Curiosity Mars Rover Exploration Instruments

 

 

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