Martian chronicler


Summary

This July, NASA is set to launch its next multibillion rover, Perseverance, to the surface of Mars. The rover marks the start of an audacious campaign that will ferry to Earth about 30 samples of martian rock and grit. Perseverance will gather the samples, and NASA and the European Space Agency are designing two follow-up missions to retrieve them. Although the rover’s hunt for signs of ancient life may have to wait until these samples return, answers for another question—whether Mars’s ancient climate was once warm and wet for millions of years, or a dry, cold barren punctuated by brief thousand-year intervals of heat—will be etched across the surface of Jezero crater, the fossilized lake and delta where the rover will begin its mission.



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