Mission to Mars: NASA plans rover launch to look for signs of life. An unmanned rover will look for clues of ancient life in the dry bed of a vanished lake in NASA's upcoming Mars mission — set to launch Thursday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. If all goes as planned, the Mars 2020 Perseverance — along with its companion, the Ingenuity helicopter — will embark on a six-month journey to Mars and land on Jezero Crater. Source 9d
Image from Wikimedia public domain.
NASA's Perseverance rover successfully lands on Mars, bridging 300 million miles and 'seven minutes of terror' before touching down. After completing the months-long journey, the rover landed on Mars with the "Explicit goal of searching for signs of ancient life," according to NASA. After about three months of equipment checkouts, the 10-foot vehicle will then roam the surface at 0.1 mph, looking for answers to science's oldest questions. Ref. USAToday.
About the size of a car, the 2,263-pound (1,026-kilogram) robotic geologist and astrobiologist will undergo several weeks of testing before it begins its two-year science investigation of Mars’ Jezero Crater. While the rover will investigate the rock and sediment of Jezero’s ancient lakebed and river delta to characterize the region’s geology and past climate, a fundamental part of its mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. To that end, the Mars Sample Return campaign, being planned by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), will allow scientists on Earth to study samples collected by Perseverance to search for definitive signs of past life using instruments too large and complex to send to the Red Planet. Ref. NASA.