NASA Rover To Land Thursday On Mars, Collect Space Rocks

A six-wheeled rover made by NASA is expected to land on Mars this Thursday. The rover, called The Perseverance, will hunt for martian rocks that could contain signs of life.

NASA Rover To Land Thursday On Mars, Collect Space Rocks

PASADENA (CBSLA) – A six-wheeled rover made by NASA is expected to land on Mars this Thursday. The rover, called The Perseverance, will hunt for martian rocks that could contain signs of life.

The mission, which costs around $3 billion, will drill into promising rocks, store about a pound of them in titanium tubes, and bring them back to Earth to be analyzed.

“One of the key steps that that Perseverance is taking is collecting samples that can be brought back to Earth in the future and then analyzed with all the terrestrial laboratories we have, which should actually provide us a definitive answer to that question,” said Kenneth Farley, a NASA Mars 2020 Project Scientist at CalTech in Pasadena.

Scientists want to know what Mars was like billions of years ago when it had rivers, lakes, and oceans where tiny organisms could have flourished.

“When we drive up, deploy the arm on the Perseverance rover, you can abrade a little bit of the rock and then we can look with the Sherlock instrument to see whether that rock has organic materials,” said Bethany Ehlmann, a Research Scientist with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)