UC geology students help NASA search for evidence of ancient life on Mars


If Perseverance finds what appears to be hard evidence of ancient life, confirmation will likely have to wait for a return mission to retrieve the samples the rover is collecting. These analyzes are sure to reveal other surprises on Earth.

“That’s one of the great benefits of sample feedback. You don’t just do it to answer the questions we have today,” Czaja said. “There may be questions that no one has thought of yet. The person who thinks about this question may not have been born yet.

Perseverance celebrated a string of successes from launch to landing on Mars seven months later via a Skycrane, a rocket-powered descent vehicle that lowered the rover to the surface via cables. Before launch, NASA engineers described the spacecraft’s final descent through the thin Martian atmosphere as “seven minutes of terror”.

Czaja and other members of the science team tuned into JPL’s live stream to watch how they learned the fate of the spacecraft, deploying its parachute, jettisoning its heat shields and lowering the rover by cables onto the surface martian.

“Watching the landing, I remember being too excited to sit down,” Czaja said. “My heart was in my throat. Suddenly, an image appears from below the rover and its surroundings on Mars.

Perseverance was willing to explore.

“There is a very big question if we find evidence of ancient life on Mars. Is it the same as ancient life on Earth? Does life on both planets have the same origins? says Corpolongo “There are so many questions.”


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