There are two reasons:
- The rover doesn’t move very far very fast. Even with the lack of traffic, it would take about a year to cover the 150km to get to our new putative Martian fountain of life.
Even though anything that leaves Earth for space exploration is scrubbed thoroughly to remove any potential bacterial contaminates, there can still be some hitchhikers. So we won’t send the rover over to investigate, just in case we end up seeding Mars with Earth Microbes. Read about it over at NPR.
Please note, this renews my interest in pursuing a career in microbial ecology. So that I can go study the microbial ecology ON MARS.