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Rocks from Mars may reveal more about Earth, says Nobel laureate Didier Queloz

Rocks from Mars may reveal more about Earth, says Nobel laureate Didier Queloz

  • 21st Oct 2022
  • The Times of India

CHENNAI: Exploring planets in our own solar system including Mars and Venus will reveal more about the Earth and origin of life on it, Nobel laureate Didier Queloz said on Thursday.

Keeping a packed audience of students at the Music Academy in thrall, the Swiss astronomer, who won the physics Nobel in 2019, said, "Bringing back rocks from Mars is very exciting and studying isotopes may reveal more about the Earth." The hall was buzzing with students keen on astronomy posed questions on a variety of topics including planetary explorations, alien life, origin of universe and many others and Queloz, who delivered the inaugural lecture of IIT Madras's new series on "Exoplanets and the search for life in the Universe," fielded them with elan, answering everyone.

The development of Mars over the first billion years was very similar to that of the Earth, he said. So, it would show what the Earth may have looked like some 3.5 billion years ago before the origin of life.
Describing the Earth and Venus as twins, he said, "We have two planets - same weight, same mass, but one of them is more than 300 degrees Celsius and thicker atmosphere. I think we need to solve it by studying Venus." Whether we should leave Earth in future, he said, "There will be a moment when the Sun exhausts hydrogen and expands. The expansion will be so large that the border of the Sun will touch earth and it will be the end of life on Earth. But, it is four billion years away. Four billion years is a long time in the future as the whole species on Earth was barely two million years old."

He further said: "Life as it is today, is perfectly fitted to stay on the Earth. It is possible that we may build robots and we start evolving as new pieces for planetary exploration. However, moving to another star is completely out of the game because of the distance."

IIT Madras director V Kamakoti, Nanyang Technological University president Subra Suresh and IIT Madras alumnus and cofounder of Infosys Kris Gopalakrishnan and others spoke at the event.