Earlier this morning, Mars rover Perseverance launched from Cape Canaveral into a deep, blue sky. Now it’s on its way to the Red Planet, 290 million miles away, but isn’t expected to reach its destination for another seven months.
Interestingly, a large part of the mission is to find alien life. The robotic rover is equipped with a drill that can collect samples from beneath the surface, and then store them until it returns to earth in the year 2031. Then, scientists can examine the samples for anything unusual- or to simply understand the planet’s composition and history.
Personally, I don’t expect we’ll find any life indigenous to Mars. The planet is dead, with no signs of life, and I suspect the search will be disappointing for some, but I’ll be happy with the simple science of rocks, soil, exploration and technology.
Further, this mission is part of a larger effort to return mankind to the moon by 2024, develop a permanent presence there by 2028 (Artemis), and then land on Mars!
I will be eagerly awaiting Perseverance’s touchdown on the Red Planet, expected on February 18, 2021!