Science Newsletter #8: Perserverance Rover Lands on Mars and Brutal Texas Snowstorms

Christopher Owen

NASA’s Rover Perseverance Lands on Mars to Conduct Research on Life Forms

Climate Change has been severely jeopardizing the health of Earth for the past few years and its detrimental effects could soon worsen if not given immediate attention. With a combination of warmer temperatures, less rainfall, and more severe natural weather patterns, there is no doubt our planet could potentially become inhabitable as soon as the next decade. Due to these drastic changes, scientists all over the world have been researching solutions to mitigating climate change in addition to other regions in space for population by humanity, most suitably Mars. Just a few days ago, NASA employees were overjoyed to announce that their latest engineering marvel, the Mars rover Perseverance, landed successfully on the surface of Mars after a 6-month long voyage. Now it will be able to begin its mission of searching an archaic river delta for possible traces left behind by microscopic life. Using radar, stereoscopic imaging, sensors, chemical composition analyzers, and an ultraviolet Raman spectrometer, the new Mars rover will share biometrics with NASA’s team of engineers and scientists to aid in the identification of potential life on Mars. Evidence of past life on Mars would suggest that the distant planet was and is able to preserve life, therefore allowing scientists to further analyze its suitability for humans. Perseverance will also conduct numerous topographic scans of Mars’ surface and atmosphere in order to determine if Mars’ conditions match their findings on past life should they find any. Should the Earth grow too unsafe to sustain human life, scientists are hopeful that Mars will be a habitable planet for us in the future, and only time, effort, and investigation will tell whether this is a possibility or not.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/science/nasa-peseverance-mars-landing.html?searchResultPosition=2

 

Winter Storms Leave Millions of Texans Without Power and Searching for Answers

Immense hardship struck millions of Texans as fierce winter storms accompanied by chilling temperatures completely battered the state for days, leaving hundreds of thousands without power, heat, food, or clean water. Although most of those affected have had their electricity restored and their families are taken care of, tens of thousands of others still remain without these resources and continue to suffer from the wrath of these storms, leaving the entire state in an economic and humanitarian crisis. Most meteorologists believe the severity of the storm that ravaged Texas is directly attributed to climate change, which has been the major culprit of extreme natural disasters that impact millions of people worldwide. Due to increasing temperatures and a more humid atmosphere, these winter storms are able to rapidly produce larger quantities of snow for longer periods of time, bringing howling winds and colder temperatures with them as well. When these storms hit harder than anticipated, it can send a nation into brutal hardship as they were not expecting this much damage. Some scientists believe that the winter storms expected to barrage the Midwest to the East Coast might be some of the worst storms seen in prior years as the Earth’s climate gets warmer/more humid and climate change continues to receive less attention than it truly needs. Most people link the tedious act of shoveling snow and having to walk in frigid weather to it “just being winter,” but winter has grown to be this way because our climate is drastically changing for the worse. Each year, millions of Americans and citizens around the world continue to bear the consequences of our thoughtless actions towards the environment, placing unnecessary burden and stress on those who do not deserve it. Rather than ignoring climate change, all of us should strive to make a positive impact in our climatic world to save millions from tragedy and our planet from its ultimate demise.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/18/business/economy/federal-reserve-climate-change-banks.html