NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is busy at work, on a roll to find evidence of past microbial life on the Red Planet. This rover’s selfie also captures Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Since its wheels-down landing in February of last year, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has been busily at work, on the prowl steering itself across the Jezero Crater landscape.

Perseverance is on a roll, a collectible outing to stash core samples in sealed tubes that are to eventually find their way to Earth via the Mars Sample Return program.

Depiction shows Jezero Crater — the landing locale of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover — as it might have appeared billions of years ago when it was perhaps a life-sustaining lake. An inlet and outlet are also visible on either side of the lake.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

But how tough is it to spot and sample potential past life on Mars? Perhaps the rover already has?

Then there’s the question of do we need the samples back on Earth to find signs of past life, or can Perseverance, on-location, detect past, or even present life with its suite of instruments?

Newly revised Mars Sample Return campaign makes use of a set of machines, including use of helicopters, to collect Martian soil, rock and atmospheric specimens for return to Earth.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

 

 

 

Above all, just how hard might it be to have a consensus among scientists that, yes, signs of life, be it past or present has been observed by the rover? What’s a slam dunk finding look like?

 

 

For more information, go to my new Space.com story – “Probing the Red Planet: Finding past life at Jezero Crater” – at:

https://www.space.com/nasa-perseverance-rover-jezero-crater-past-life-on-mars

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