Even though Mars is a bit more than half the size of Earth, our neighbouring planet is the main attraction point for astronomers in recent years. Also located in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ of the Solar System, Mars has some theoretical chances of hosting life forms. But while astronomers found no convincing evidence of the existence of life on the Red Planet in the present, there are chances for microbial life to have existed there in the past.
On February 18, the Perseverance rover operated by NASA landed in the Jezero Crater from Mars, one that’s 28 miles wide. According to Space.com, the rover has started its science campaign with a road trip.
Jennifer Trosper, who is the new Perseverance project manager from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, said:
We are putting the rover’s commissioning phase as well as the landing site in our rearview mirror and hitting the road.
While speaking about the plans for Perseverance, Trosper also added:
Over the next several months, Perseverance will be exploring a 1.5-square-mile [4-square-kilometer] patch of crater floor. It is from this location that the first samples from another planet will be collected for return to Earth by a future mission.
“Crater Floor Francured Rough” and “Séítah” are the two distinct geological units that PErseveerance will explore. The first contains a lot of ancient bedrock, while the second also boasts sand dunes.
Not only that Perseverance will look for signs of ancient microbial life in the past of Mars – but it will also seek evidence for the presence of water.