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How NASAs new rover will search for signs of ancient life on Mars

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Channel: Science Magazine
Categories: Astronomy   |   Biology   |   Science  
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If NASA realizes its midsummer dream, a spacecraft will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, sometime between 30 July and 15 August, destined to ignite the next generation of Mars exploration. The mission, which NASA has dubbed Mars 2020, aims to deliver the space agencys latest rover, Perseverance, to an uncharted crater known as Jezeroan ancient lake bed that could offer a window into Mars climatic history.

Perseverance will carry many tools and instruments, including a small helicopter and a novel array of 43 sample tubes, robotic arms, and multiple drills, which will bore into the martian surface for chalk-sized cores of rock and soil. The cores will eventually make their way back to Earth in a sample return campaign, a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency. Should they contain organic compounds, they may indicate the existence of past microorganismsin other words, evidence of ancient life on the Red Planet.

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