NASA’s Perseverance rover begins its science mission on Mars to look for signs of ANCIENT LIFE

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After moving from photographer to scientific researcher, NASA’s Perseverance rover has officially embarked on its scientific mission and begins its search for signs of ancient life.

Perseverance’s shift to science missions began on June 1 when it moved away from its landing zone, known as the Octavia E. Butler landing site, in the 28-mile-wide Jezero Crater, where it landed on February 18.

In addition to looking for signs of ancient microscopic life, the $2.7 billion rover will study the crater’s geology and look for signs of past habitability.

It will also collect rock and sediment samples, which the US space agency hopes to return to Earth with a future mission for further research.

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The rover will also take measurements and test technologies that can be used for robotic and human exploration of the Red Planet.

“We’re putting the commissioning phase of the rover and the landing site in our rearview mirror and hit the road,” Jennifer Trosper, Perseverance project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement. statement.

In the coming months, Perseverance will explore a 1.5 square kilometer area gebied [4-square-kilometer] bit of crater floor,” Trosper added.

“From this location, the first samples from another planet will be collected for return to Earth by a future mission.”

This image from Jezero Crater shows the routes for Perseverance's first science campaign (yellow dashes) and the second and second (light yellow dashes)

This image from Jezero Crater shows the routes for Perseverance’s first science campaign (yellow dashes) and the second and second (light yellow dashes)

In addition to looking for signs of ancient microscopic life, the rover will study the geology of Jezero Crater and look for signs of past habitability

In addition to looking for signs of ancient microscopic life, the rover will study the geology of Jezero Crater and look for signs of past habitability

The Perseverance rover will explore two regions in Mars' Jezero crater: the 'Crater Floor Fractured Rough' and 'Séítah' (pictured)

The Perseverance rover will explore two regions in Mars’ Jezero crater: the ‘Crater Floor Fractured Rough’ and ‘Séítah’ (pictured)

With the start of its science missions, Perseverance joins the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in August 2012, to explore the Red Planet.

Prior to the science mission, the car-sized Perseverance spent its first months on Mars checking its instruments, monitoring the launch of the Ingenuity helicopter and taking a large number of photos.

As part of its scientific mission, expected to last “hundreds of sols,” or Martian days, it will study two unique geological regions in the 2.5-mile-wide area of ​​Jezero’s floor: the “Crater Floor Fractured Rough” and “Séítah.”

The “Crater Floor Fractured Rough” is Jezero’s crater-filled floor, while “Séítah” (meaning “among the sand” in Navajo) has ridges, layered rocks, and sand dunes, in addition to bedrock.

“To do justice to both units in the allotted time, the team came up with the Mars version of an old car club-like map,” said Kevin Hand of JPL, an astrobiologist and co-lead, along with Vivian Sun, of this science . campaign.

“We’ve mapped out our route, complete with optional turns and labeled areas of interest and potential obstacles in our path.”

Perseverance will collect one or two samples from the “correct” location of each of the four locations in the two regions, which NASA’s Hand says could provide new surprises.

“By starting with the Crater Floor Fractured Rough and Seitah geological units, we can start our exploration of Jezero from scratch,” Hand said.

‘This area was less than 100 meters’ [328 feet] of water 3.8 billion years ago. We don’t know what stories the rocks and stratified outcrops will tell us, but we’re excited to get started.’

Earlier this month, Perseverance celebrated its 100th Mars Day and celebrated its greatest achievements, including creating oxygen

Earlier this month, Perseverance celebrated its 100th Mars Day and celebrated its greatest achievements, including creating oxygen “from scratch” and recording Ingenuity’s flights.

In March, scientists suggested that a significant amount of water on Mars, perhaps as much as 99 percent, could be hiding in the Earth’s crust.

Once the first science mission is completed, Perseverance returns to its landing site and travels over 3 miles.

From there it heads north to the Jezero Delta region, an area with an abundance of organic minerals that may show fossilized signs of ancient life.

Earlier this month, Perseverance celebrated its 100th Mars Day and celebrated its greatest achievements, including creating oxygen “from scratch” and recording Ingenuity’s flights.

NASA MARS 2020: THE MISSION WILL SEE THE PERVERANCE ROVER AND INGENUITY HELICOPTER SEARCH FOR LIFE

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will look for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet to help scientists better understand how life evolved on Earth.

Named Perseverance, the main car-sized rover, you will explore an ancient river delta in the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600-meter-deep lake.

The region is believed to have harbored microbial life about 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago, and the rover will examine soil samples to look for evidence of life.

NASA's Mars 2020 rover (artist's impression) looks for signs of ancient life on Mars to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) looks for signs of ancient life on Mars to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet

The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) spaceship Mars 2020 was launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside — and successfully landed on February 18, 2021.

Perseverance landed in the crater and will collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis.

A second mission will fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps by the later 2020s in conjunction with the European Space Agency.

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA's 'sky-crane' system

This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s ‘sky-crane’ system

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