UK Scientists Help NASA Answer the Question, "Was There Life on Mars?"

Katie Ramirez
July 29, 2020

The rover will drill out little samples of rock and store them into tubes.

Keeping the 2020 Mars rover mission on schedule has been vitally important compared to other launches due to the timing involved with the seven-month journey to the red planet.

This summer's third and final mission to Mars - after the United Arab Emirates' Hope orbiter and China's Quest for Heavenly Truth orbiter-rover combo - begins with a launch scheduled for Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral.

"If we could bring back a fossil record, a rock record, some kind of geological samples, that have some record of that prebiotic phase of the evolution of life, that would arguably be as exciting, or arguably more exciting, than finding life", Benjamin Weiss, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Perseverance science team, told the Post.

Perseverance will get on Mars' Jezero Crater on the 18 of February 2021. He will be working closely with the science team in developing the strategic science vision of the mission and making sure that it fulfils the science objectives and with the engineers in day-to-day rover operations as they search for samples of rocks for future return to Earth.

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He said: "This is crucial to understand what the Martian climate was like early in Mars' history and whether it was habitable for life".

Get more information about the Mars Sample Return project in the video below. The robot will collect samples that will be returned to Earth in 2031.

From what part of the Red Planet should they be collected? "With one carefully chosen sample from Mars, we could discover that the history of life on the Earth is not unique in the Universe". "And now it's going back to Mars", she continued. Perseverance, NASA's Mars Exploration Vehicle, will send it back home.

The mission - created to better understand the geology and climate of Mars and seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet - will use the robotic scientist, which weighs just under 1,043 kgs and is the size of a small auto, to collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by future Mars sample return missions. There will be a two-hour window that will open at 1150 GMT. You'll also be able to watch the July 30 launch online here.

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