Was There Life on Mars? UK Scientists Play Key Part in NASA Mission to Red Planet

Panorama of Perseverance Rover’s landing site on Mars. (Credit: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — After a seven-month journey, NASA’s car-sized Mars Perseverance rover will make its final descent to the Red Planet to begin its search for traces of life.

The rover’s mission – backed by the UK government – is to explore and collect samples for future return to Earth from diverse ancient environments on Mars. Supported by over £400,000 in funds from the UK Space Agency, researchers at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum will help to decide which samples are sent to Earth in a search for evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars.

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What will Ancient Sedimentary Rock Tell us About the History of Life on Mars?

Panorama of Perseverance Rover’s landing site on Mars. (Credit: NASA)

Two Stony Brook professors involved in the Perseverance nission weigh In

STONY BROOK, NY, February 22, 2021 (Stony Brook University PR) — The new era of space exploration features two Stony Brook University faculty members as part of the development of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover that recently landed. Distinguished Professor Scott McLennan and Associate Professor Joel Hurowitz both worked on the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) that is attached to the arm of the rover.

The PIXL is a micro-focus X-ray fluorescence instrument that rapidly measures elemental chemistry by focusing an X-ray beam to a tiny spot on the target rock or soil, analyzing the induced X-ray fluorescence. Both professors have been working on Mars missions with NASA since 2004.

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Provides Front-Row Seat to Landing, First Audio Recording of Red Planet

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — New video from NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover chronicles major milestones during the final minutes of its entry, descent, and landing (EDL) on the Red Planet on Feb. 18 as the spacecraft plummeted, parachuted, and rocketed toward the surface of Mars. A microphone on the rover also has provided the first audio recording of sounds from Mars.

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Video of Perseverance Rover’s Descent and Touchdown on Mars

Video Caption: NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance mission captured thrilling footage of its rover landing in Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. The real footage in this video was captured by several cameras that are part of the rover’s entry, descent, and landing suite. The views include a camera looking down from the spacecraft’s descent stage (a kind of rocket-powered jet pack that helps fly the rover to its landing site), a camera on the rover looking up at the descent stage, a camera on the top of the aeroshell (a capsule protecting the rover) looking up at that parachute, and a camera on the bottom of the rover looking down at the Martian surface.

The audio embedded in the video comes from the mission control call-outs during entry, descent, and landing.

For more information about Perseverance, visit https://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA Perseverance Rover Briefing to Feature Landing Video

This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA will hold a virtual briefing at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST) today to unveil the “How to Land on Mars” video, which will present first-of-its-kind footage the Perseverance rover captured as it touched down on the Red Planet Feb. 18. The agency also will show new images the rover took on the Martian surface.

The briefing will be broadcast on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website and stream live on multiple agency social media platforms.

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NOVA “Looking for Life on Mars” Goes Inside the Mission to Search for Life on the Red Planet

This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
  • NOVA takes viewers behind the scenes as NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down in Mars’ Jezero crater
  • Premieres Wednesday, February 24 at 9 p.m. ET/8C on PBS
  • Also Available for Streaming Online and on the PBS video app

BOSTON, February 19, 2021 (PBS PR) — LOOKING FOR LIFE ON MARS, a one-hour special from the PBS science series NOVA, a production of GBH Boston, will follow NASA’s Mars 2020 mission—perhaps the most ambitious search yet for traces of ancient life on the red planet. The special premieres Wednesday, February 24 at 9 p.m. ET/8C on PBS and will be available for streaming online and on the PBS video app.

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Motiv Technology Reaches Mars as Part of Perseverance Rover Mission

This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif., (Motiv Space Systems PR) — After traveling for about 7 months and nearly 300 million miles, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover landed on the Red Planet on Thursday. After landing, the rover will rely on several technologies developed by Motiv Space Systems, a space robotics company based in Pasadena, California.

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NASA’s Mars Helicopter Reports In

In this illustration, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter stands on the Red Planet’s surface as NASA’s Perseverance rover (partially visible on the left) rolls away. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The technology demonstration has phoned home from where it is attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California have received the first status report from the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which landed Feb. 18, 2021, at Jezero Crater attached to the belly of the agency’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover.

The downlink, which arrived at 3:30 p.m. PST (6:30 p.m. EST) via a connection through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, indicates that both the helicopter, which will remain attached to the rover for 30 to 60 days, and its base station (an electrical box on the rover that stores and routes communications between the rotorcraft and Earth) are operating as expected.

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Teledyne’s Technology to Help Perseverance Search for Past Life on Mars

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Perseverance Rover on Mars. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., February 19, 2021 (Teledyne Technologies PR) – Teledyne Technologies (NYSE: TDY) is proud to contribute several of its advanced high performance image sensors to form part of the complex instrumentation onboard the Mars Rover Perseverance. Teledyne sensors will power, sense and help analyze the chemical composition of the surface and minerals, including Gy and atmosphere during the Mars 2020 mission.

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Spectacular Image: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Captures Perseverance Rover Descent to Surface

The descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The descent stage holding NASA’s Perseverance rover can be seen falling through the Martian atmosphere, its parachute trailing behind, in this image taken on Feb. 18, 2021, by the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ancient river delta, which is the target of the Perseverance mission, can be seen entering Jezero Crater from the left.

HiRISE was approximately 435 miles (700 kilometers) from Perseverance and traveling at about 6750 mile per hour (3 kilometers per second) at the time the image was taken.  The extreme distance and high speeds of the two spacecraft were challenging conditions that required precise timing and for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to both pitch upward and roll hard to the left so that Perseverance was viewable by HiRISE at just the right moment.

The orbiter’s mission is led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, built the spacecraft. The University of Arizona provided and operates HiRISE.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Sends Sneak Peek of Mars Landing

This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust). Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (the European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis. The Mars 2020 mission is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance and Curiosity rovers. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Less than a day after NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars, engineers and scientists at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California were hard at work, awaiting the next transmissions from Perseverance. As data gradually came in, relayed by several spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet, the Perseverance team were relieved to see the rover’s health reports, which showed everything appeared to be working as expected.

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Video: NASA Perseverance Lands on Mars

Video Caption: After a seven-month-long journey, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully touched down on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021. Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California celebrate landing NASA’s fifth — and most ambitious — rover on Mars.

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.

Also flying with Perseverance is NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, which will attempt to show controlled, powered flight is possible in the very thin Martian atmosphere.

For more about Perseverance, visit http://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Touchdown! NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Safely Lands on Red Planet

A low-resolution image of the Perseverance rover’s landing site taken by an engineering camera. Dust stirred up by the landing partially obscures the terrain. (Credit: NASA)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).

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Searching for Life in NASA’s Perseverance Mars Samples

The rocks along the shoreline of Lake Salda in Turkey were formed by microbes that trap minerals and sediments in the water. Studying these ancient microbial fossils on Earth help Mars 2020 scientists prepare for their mission. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

When the agency’s newest rover mission searches for fossilized microscopic life on the Red Planet, how will scientists know whether they’ve found it?

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will be the agency’s ninth mission to land on the Red Planet. Along with characterizing the planet’s geology and climate, and paving the way for human exploration beyond the Moon, the rover is focused on astrobiology, or the study of life throughout the universe. Perseverance is tasked with searching for telltale signs that microbial life may have lived on Mars billions of years ago. It will collect rock core samples in metal tubes, and future missions would return these samples to Earth for deeper study.

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