By Natasha Muller
On July 30, 2020, NASA’s Mars 2020 launched a car-sized Mars rover called Perseverance that was designed to study the rock records in order to reveal more about the geologic processes that created and modified the Martian crust and surface throughout time. Also, it was to seek biosignatures which means to seek signs of possible past microbial life in those habitable environments, particularly in specific rock types known to preserve signs over time. Each layer of rock on the Martian surface contains a record of the environment in which it was formed. The Mars Perseverance Rover was launched on an Atlas V-541 rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. On February 18, 2021, Perseverance successfully landed on Mars. The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will search for signs of ancient bacterial life, advancing NASA’s quest to explore the past liveability of Mars. The rover has a drill to collect core samples of Martian rock and soil, then store them in sealed tubes for pickup by a future mission that would ferry them back to Earth for detailed analysis. Perseverance will also test technologies to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars. This mission will have a duration of at least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days). For more information about the Mars Perseverance Rover, click here.