NASA Begins New Search For Ancient Life

The US is the only country to successfully land a spacecraft on Mars. The latest US launch is following the United Arab Emirates and China’s launches last week. In what is the biggest wave of travel to Mars, the US seeks to make its ninth successful landing on the red planet.

The world’s third and final launch of the summer saw NASA’s Perseverance riding on an Atlas V rocket successfully launched into space. Perseverance is just behind China and the UAE; all are set to land in February.

The seven-month journey will see the spacecraft travel 300 million miles, a long way in search of “new” life. The most advanced rover to date, the car-size plutonium-powered six-wheel rover, seeks to collect geological samples. This will be the first mission to collect samples and bring them back down to Earth.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science mission chief, called the launch the beginning of humanity’s travels to other planets.

The rover isn’t only looking for life on Mars, it’s also looking to pave the way for the possibility of landing astronauts there by the 2030s. Perseverance sets to explore otherwise unexplored and often perilous environments.

In a wave of “firsts”, the rover also is set to release a mini-helicopter, attempting the first powered flight on another planet. This is a test of our technology that includes extracting air samples, potentially preparing for future astronauts.

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