FEB 20, 2021 8:20 AM PST

Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

NASA scientists have confirmed that their car-sized Perseverance Mars rover is 'healthy' following its arrival on the planet's surface on February 18th, 2021. And already, the rover has beamed back images from the red planet. 

NASA scientists have called Perseverance the most ambitious of almost 20 US missions to Mars since the Mariner spacecraft's 1965 fly-by. At a cost of $2.7 billion, the two-year mission aims to search for fossilized signs of microbes from roughly 3 billion years ago. Scientists hope to find biosignatures embedded in samples of ancient sediments for future analysis on Earth. These will then be retrieved from two subsequent missions to Mars within the next decade. 

"Of all the steps needed to develop life, how many occurred on Mars? This [mission] tells us not only about whether we're alone in the solar system but also about how likely we are to find life in the thousands of other planets being discovered around other suns – so [it] has truly cosmic implications," says Colin Wilson, a physicist at Oxford University. 

Among new instruments and an upgraded autopilot system, engineers equipped Perseverance with a diminutive helicopter called 'Ingenuity'. Weighing just 1.8kg, it is hoped that the helicopter will serve as a pathfinder to discover otherwise inaccessible areas or as a scout for future rovers. 

In the days to come, engineers will delve into Perseverance's system data, update its software and begin to test its instruments. After this, in the following weeks, the engineers will begin to test its robotic arm and take its first drive. Then, after a month or two, Perseverance will find a flat location to drop off Ingenuity. Sometime after this, the rover will finally begin its search for its first sample of Martian rock and sediment. 

 

Sources: NASAThe GuardianGlobal Times

 

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
APR 17, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Dent in Earth's Magnetic Field Caused by Buried Ancient World
APR 17, 2021
Dent in Earth's Magnetic Field Caused by Buried Ancient World
Researchers from Arizona State University have suggested that two giant blobs of rock cupping the Earth's core are l ...
MAY 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Completes Its First One-Way Trip on Mars
MAY 09, 2021
NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Completes Its First One-Way Trip on Mars
NASA sent the Perseverance rover to Mars loaded with cutting edge technology, one piece of which is a robotic helicopter ...
MAY 23, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Some Stars Vanish from Space?
MAY 23, 2021
Why Do Some Stars Vanish from Space?
Current theories suggest that stars undergo changes on timescales of millions or billions of years, and that their end i ...
MAY 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
MAY 29, 2021
Climate Models Overestimate Role of Greenhouse Gases in Global Warming, Says New Study
Researchers have that there was four times more soot in the pre-industrial Southern Hemisphere's atmosphere than pre ...
JUN 16, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Mapping the Boundaries of the Heliosphere
JUN 16, 2021
Mapping the Boundaries of the Heliosphere
Earth and the planets in the solar system sit within the heliosphere, a giant bubble formed by the charged particles, li ...
JUL 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
JUL 08, 2021
Giant Plumes on Saturn's Moon May Hold Signs of Life
Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, has giant erupting plumes of water that, scientists say, can not be explained by known g ...
Loading Comments...