Will ExoMars discover evidence of life on the Red Planet ? Image Credit: ESA
Scientists developing Europe's new ExoMars rover are optimistic about its chances of finding life on Mars.
Unlike previous missions which have focused mainly on rocks and surface soil, ESA's upcoming excursion to the Red Planet will dig down in to the ground to look for evidence of life.
The new rover, which is due to launch in 2020 and will arrive on Mars the following year, is being equipped with special drilling instruments as well as lasers that can pick up the presence of DNA.
"The chances are just about 50/50," said team astrobiologist Dr Susanne Schwenzer.
"We are going to a very, very interesting spot."
Over the course of seven months, the solar-powered rover will carefully examine samples of soil collected from below the ground to look for evidence that life exists (or once existed) on Mars.
"It's not like driving a car," said rover operator Mark Shilton. "There's quite a complex software chain involved and it's extremely slow and methodical. The challenge is that often the most interesting locations for the geologists are the hardest for the rover."
If the rover actually does find evidence of life on Mars - even if it died out millions of years ago - it will undoubtedly be one of the most important discoveries in human history.
This mission will definitely be one to watch.
Source: Independent.ie | Comments (22)
Mars, Life, ExoMars