NASA is upping the ante with its newest rover headed to Mars. Set to rocket away this week from Florida, the spacecraft named Perseverance is NASA's brawniest and brainiest Martian rover yet. (July 27)
JIM BRIDENSTINE: This is the first time in history when NASA has dedicated a mission to what we call astrobiology, the search for life, either maybe now, or ancient life on another world. And, of course, when we go to the Jezero Crater, which is obviously a big crater on Mars, but it's also a former lakebed, and it had a river that flowed into it. And that river delta is a place where we believe there could be-- I'm not saying there is, we don't know, but there could have been at one point in time-- life.
We're going to cache samples. We're going to cache samples on the surface of another world for a future mission in 2026 to bring those samples back to Earth. And that will be the first time in history that we have done a Mars return mission. In fact, it's the first time in history we've done a return mission from any planet. So these are very, very exciting times. Very important mission for the United States of America, and of course, a very, very important mission for the world.