On July 30, 2020, NASA launched the Mars2020 mission, with the goal of learning more about the Red Planet. And in a little over a month, that is to say on February 18, 2021 , the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity drone, launched thanks to an Atlas V 541 rocket, will arrive on Mars.
It is in the Jezero crater , that the landing will take place. Note that the choice of this site, whose rocks are very similar to those of Warrawoona (Australia), was not made by chance. Indeed, by studying the Jezero crater, scientists hope to make a leap in the search for life on our neighboring planet.
However, we will have to wait, because the rock samples that the Perseverance rover is responsible for collecting will not return to Earth for several years at the earliest. But that should help us ultimately find out whether or not the Red Planet is home to life.
Jezero is the ideal place to find any traces of life
The rocks at Jezero Crater are very similar to those at Warrawoona, which contain the oldest fossilized evidence of life on Earth according to researchers. Moreover, it is thanks to the data provided by the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter), a space probe orbiting today around the red planet, that geologists have been able to reach this conclusion.
Thanks to this device, the researchers were able to suggest that in the past, water, an essential element for life, was present in this crater about 50 kilometers in diameter. And with the help of images at different frequencies of the visible and infrared spectrum, geologists have collected countless details about Jezero and its rocks.
According to NASA's Adrian Brown, the data also revealed that Jezero formed on rock made up of olivine (a mineral that contains iron, magnesium and silicates) and carbonates.
It will be a while before we know if Mars finally shelters life
As you know, the Perseverance rover will be responsible for collecting rock samples in Jezero crater. As for the Ingenuity drone, its task will be to reconnoitre in unknown areas of Mars, in order to identify future sites to be examined.
But we will have to wait many more years before we can decide on an answer to the fateful question of Martian life. Indeed, the repatriation of Martian rocks planned by NASA and ESA should not take place before 2026 . Patience is therefore essential.