NASA has decided to send another rover to Mars, but this time, it’s to look for signs of life. The Rover which will launch in August 2020 (when Earth and Mars are in the best position) and should take about 8 months to arrive. It will then drill into the Martian soil and collect samples. The Rover has a ground penetrating radar, an experimental machine, and tools to store five tubes of Martian rocks and soil. The samples will one day be brought back to Earth. The main goal is to see if life ever arose on Mars.
It is believed that Mars was once like the Earth, a blue world, with life striving all over it. This rover will determine if “we are alone”, at least on Mars. A future mission could return these samples to Earth. That would help scientists study the samples in laboratories with special equipment that would be too large to take to Mars. NASA just recently chose the site where the rover will land.
This mission won’t just see if life is- or has been- on Mars. It also helps us to understand what the living conditions would be on Mars for humans. Plus, it will help people who plan missions to Mars. The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.
Maybe one day when the samples return to Earth, we will realize that we aren’t alone.
For more information on the mission, visit NASA’s website.
Photo: NASA/JPL/Cornell University