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Was There Life On Mars? NASA’s $2 Billion ‘Bot Launches This Week On Unique ‘Sample Return’ Mission

[July 26, 2020: Forbes]



NASA’s most complex Mars rover so far will this week launch into space and begin its seven-month journey to the Red Planet.


Strapped to the belly of the “Perseverance” rover will be “Ingenuity,” a 1.8kg demonstration helicopter that’s getting a lot of headlines.


However, what’s being overlooked is Perseverance’s core mission, which is about as exciting as it could be—it’s going to search for traces of ancient life on Mars.


Then, incredibly, it’s going to prepare samples to be brought back to Earth by astronauts or robotic probes in the 2030s.


Perseverance will thus become the first planetary mission to collect and cache Martian rock core and dust samples.

Can NASA’s Perseverance find proof of life beyond Earth?

It’s being played-down, but Perseverance could be instrumental in achieving something quite remarkable—the first evidence of the existence of life beyond Earth.


“Perseverance sets a new bar for our ambitions at Mars,” said Lori Glaze, planetary science director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We will get closer than ever before to answering some of science’s longest-standing questions about the Red Planet, including whether life ever arose there.”.... MORE

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