Ancient microbial life should have been present on Mars in the distant past, or at least that’s the main hunch of many astronomers. The Red Planet has some incredibly similar characteristics to Earth, such as the presence of water, the location in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ of the Solar System, and more.
Over a hundred days ago, on February 18, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover landed on our neighbouring planet to bring back valuable data. While the chances are practically zero for the rover to find any green friends roaming across the surface of Mars, there’s still hope to find signs of ancient microbial life.
A journey that lasted for 203 days
With the distance between Earth and Mars being pretty huge by comparison with the one that separates our planet from the Moon, NASA’s spacecraft needed 203 days to arrive at the Red Planet. Therefore, after travelling a distance of 293 million miles, Perseverance landed on the Jezero Crater of Mars.
100 days (sols) on Mars, and feeling productive:
✅ Tested all cameras & instruments
✅ Returned 75,000+ pics
✅ Deployed #MarsHelicopter & captured its flights
✅ Recorded sounds of Mars
✅ Extracted oxygen from atmosphere
✅ Started south to first exploration zone
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) June 1, 2021
Mars 2020 is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program that involves the Perseverance rover and the small robotic and coaxial helicopter Ingenuity. Mars 2020 was launched on top of an Atlas V vehicle on July 30, 2020, at 11:50:01 UTC.
JPL’s Perseverance team said that the rover put all of its cameras and scientific instruments to the test, brought back over 75,000 pictures, extracted oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars, and more.
Nicknamed Percy, NASA’s Mars rover was manufactured by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), meaning a federally funded research and development centre and also a NASA field centre. JPL is located in the city of La Cañada Flintridge from California, United States.