Three countries — the United States, China and the United Arab Emirates — are sending unmanned spacecraft to Mars beginning this week, in an effort to seek signs of ancient microscopic life while scouting out places for future astronauts. (July 13)
MARCIA DUNN: Earth is sending three robotic explorers to Mars-- US, NASA from here at Cape Canaveral, Florida, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
The whole plan is for this rover to not only look for signs of ancient microscopic life, but to pick the best samples where there might be some microscopic life preserved, stash them on Mars in these super sterile tubes, and NASA hopes to send another spacecraft to go retrieve them and bring them back to Earth possibly in 2031.
If there was life on Mars, then that opens up the whole possibility for planets and other solar systems. And I think that's the question that we all wonder every day, every night is like, "Are we alone in this huge universe or could there be other life out there that we just don't know about yet?"