NASA’s fifth expedition to Mars with a roving lander is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet later this week, with scientists hoping to glean information about its history and whether it holds any clues about Earth’s future.
“We know that Mars had a bad past,” Thomas Zurbuchen the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, told USA Today. “We used our Spirit and Opportunity rovers (2003) to follow the water in search of answers as to why this once ocean world is now dry and desolate. Following those missions came our Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012 and is still operating.”
After a more than six-month, 293-million-mile journey, Perseverance is aiming for Mars’ Jezero Crater, a 30-mile wide depression that scientists believe once was a deep lake fed by rivers of running water.
“Perseverance is our robotic astrobiologist, and it will be the first rover NASA has sent to Mars with the explicit goal of searching for signs of ancient life,” Zurbuchen said. full story