NASA launches new rover to search for signs of past Martian life

NASA launches new rover to search for signs of past Martian life

"There would be no bigger discovery in the history of humanity than finding life that is not on our own world", NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.

When a vessel enters safe mode, it shuts down all but essential system until it receives new commands from mission control.

"With safe mode exit, the team is getting down to the business of interplanetary cruise", Mars 2020 Deputy Project Manager Matt Wallace of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement on Friday. "Right now, the Mars 2020 mission is completing a full health assessment on the spacecraft and is working to return the spacecraft to a nominal configuration for its journey to Mars", added NASA.

That's where a separate orbiting spacecraft, provided by ESA and also launched from Earth in 2026, would rendezvous with the sample return container and ferry it back to Earth. The problem, the agency says, was triggered when parts of the spacecraft became too cold in the Earth's shadow, and safe mode kicked in.

First, the proximity of the spacecraft to Earth immediately after launch was saturating the ground station receivers of NASA's Deep Space Network.

The Astronauts SpaceX Crew Dragon Capsule Are Returning To Earth
Two NASA astronauts are supposed to return to Earth this weekend onboard SpaceX's Crew Dragon. Crew Dragon is shown docked to the Harmony module on the International Space Station.

Technical issues aside, NASA hopes the Mars rover will be able to find signs of past microscopic life on the planet, as well as study its geology in preparation for future robotic - and perhaps even human - expeditions. A NASA-provided payload on the orbiter would provide the capabilities needed to capture and contain the samples, placing them in an Earth entry vehicle that would land the samples safely on USA soil.

The primary goal of the mission is to answer one of the key questions of astrobiology: Are there potential signs of past microbial life, or biosignatures on the Red Planet?

Scientists have long debated whether Mars - once a much more hospitable place than it is today - ever harboured life.

NASA's Mars 2020 perseverance rover had officially lifted for Mars from Florida in the United States on 30 th of July. The Mars Perseverance rover only has a short window of opportunity, and that was nearly missed due to the pandemic. We are going to Jezero Crater.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and will manage operations of the Mars Perseverance rover.

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