NASA’s Perseverance Rover Has Landed On Mars To Search For Signs Of Ancient Life

“Based on everything we know about Mars in the past, it absolutely should have been capable of supporting ancient life,” one NASA scientist said.

NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars on Thursday, starting a mission to find signs of ancient life on the planet.

NASA tweeted out the first pictures taken by the Martian rover from its landing site on Jezero Crater, which scientists believe was once a river delta. If life ever existed on Mars, scientists think this is one of the places there may be signs of it. The rover is decked out with various tools, including a coring drill and a ground-penetrating radar tool, to help answer this question.

One of the most intriguing instruments on the Perseverance mission is the Ingenuity helicopter, a small flyer that will be tested at least 5 times over 30 days as soon as the rover drives to a suitable takeoff site. If successful, the tests would be the first powered flights on another planet, opening the door to future drone exploration on Mars.

“The most rewarding discovery I think we could make with Perseverance is finding a truly compelling ancient biosignature on Mars,” said Katie Morgan, deputy project scientist for the NASA mission. “Based on everything we know about Mars in the past, it absolutely should have been capable of supporting ancient life.”

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