University of Cambridge > > Trinity College Science Society 2022-23 > The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and the search for life on ancient Mars

The Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and the search for life on ancient Mars

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The successful landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover in February 2021 set in motion one of the greatest international scientific endeavours of our time. Within the next ten years, NASA and ESA will work together to return samples from a four-billion-year-old lake deposit on Mars in a major advance in our understanding of its capacity to have supported microbial life. But could microbial life have emerged on ancient Mars? Did liquid water persist long enough? Did the redox state of the surface and atmosphere provide the necessary conditions to facilitate prebiotic synthesis and an origin for life? If not, how did environments on Mars and their evolution differ from that of the Earth? How can this inform our understanding of planetary evolution and the search for potentially habitable exoplanets? This talk will introduce a geological record that exists nowhere else in the Solar System, discuss the scientific significance of Perseverance’s landing site, provide an update on recent findings of the Perseverance Rover mission, and discuss why Mars exploration helps address key questions surrounding the origins of life on Earth.

This talk is part of the Trinity College Science Society 2022-23 series.

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