The Mars mission will test out technologies to help sustain the presence of humans there
NASA’s exploration of Mars has focused on finding traces and trails of water that may have existed, and relate it to finding evidence of ancient life. Its earlier Mars expedition which carried the Curiosity rover, landed on August 5, 2012. It identified regions that could have hosted life. Expected to last at least the duration of one Mars year, or about 687 earth days, the science goals this time are to look for signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples. Perseverance will take the inquiry made by Curiosity to the next level and search for signs of past life by studying the Jezero Crater. The crater was chosen for study as based on an earlier aerial survey, it was found to be home to an ancient delta. Clay minerals and carbonates were seen, making the crater a good place to search for life’s existence. Further, the rover will study the geology here and store samples in a place that can be accessed by a future mission which would return them to the earth. The rover will test out technologies that could help sustain the presence of humans there in the future. This includes an instrument to extract oxygen from the atmospheric carbon dioxide. The rover also carries a helicopter named Ingenuity that is specially designed to fly in Mars’s thin atmosphere; its sole purpose would be to demonstrate flight on Mars. Finally, to the question whether little green microbes did inhabit Mars in the distant past — only time and Perseverance can answer that.
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