NASA Mars rover to dig for signs of ancient life

Where there was water, there may have been life. That’s why NASA is sending Perseverance rover to Jezero Crater on Mars, once home to a lake fed by a river. It’s now bone dry, but 3.5 billion years ago, this Martian lake was big and wet. (Feb. 17)

Video Transcript

- The goal, of course, is to collect promising samples in this super clean tube and it's analogs of course, the ones up there toward going towards Mars, and really collecting those samples as a first step of the most difficult missions or one of the most difficult missions ever undertaken. It's, of course, trying to make significant progress in answering one of the questions that has been with us for many centuries, namely, are we alone in the universe?

We know due to the rovers and orbiters of the past and the present that Mars has had a wet past. And as we go to Jezero, we go to the most promising site to really unlock the information about that wet past and to question, was there ancient life during that period where on Earth life was arising?

- This container can hold up to 30 samples. And it is much like the baton in a relay race. This container is the heart of sample return. Because the sample tubes will be filled by perseverence. The sample retrieval lander will house this container and they'll be placed within. And then the third element, the Earth return orbiter, will bring this container, triply-sealed, back to the earth.