Life on Mars? NASA’s Perseverance probe begins unprecedented search for signals

  • Jonathan Amos
  • BBC News Science Reporter

Perseverance on Mars

Credit, NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

photo caption,

Perseverance probe drills rocks and stores samples for analysis after returning to Earth

NASA’s Perseverance spacecraft has reached an important moment in its mission to Mars. This Tuesday (17/5), the six-wheeled robot will begin to climb an ancient delta in the crater where it landed.

It will roll uphill, pausing every now and then to examine rocks that seem most likely to have signs of past life on the planet.

On the way back, Perseverance will collect some of these rocks, placing the samples at the base of the delta to be retrieved by later missions. The aim is to bring this material back to Earth in the 2030s for further analysis.

“The delta in Jezero Crater is Perseverance’s main astrobiological target,” the project’s deputy scientist Katie Stack Morgan told the BBC.

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