To ascertain if life was ever supported on Mars, scientists will use cutting-edge know-how to gather samples of rock and soil which might be sealed in titanium tubes then ultimately shipped again to Earth to be analysed in superior laboratories.
The Perseverance rover will go away the tubes on the floor of Mars and a second smaller “fetching” system, constructed by the European House Company, might be deployed later this decade to choose them up and convey them dwelling.
Weighing one tonne and transferring round on six wheels, the rover might be finishing up scientific experiments by no means earlier than accomplished.
These embody testing a technique to provide oxygen from the environment, utilizing radar to find pure sources like subsurface water, deploying superior zoom cameras to picture the panorama in 3D, and measuring Mars’ distinctive climate system with a set of environmental sensors.
It would additionally seek for distinctive indicators of previous life, and rocks that inform us what the Martian local weather was like billions of years in the past.
A 1.8kg helicopter named Ingenuity is stashed contained in the stomach of the rover, which might be deployed to fly overhead and provides a hen’s eye view of the Martian panorama.
Because the 1960s, people have robotically explored Mars greater than every other planet past Earth.
Nevertheless, getting there safely is fraught with issue.
Of the 45 Mars missions launched since 1960, 26 have had some part fail to depart Earth, fall silent en route, miss orbit round Mars, dissipate within the environment, crash on the floor, or die prematurely.