Looking for Life on Mars

Samples taken by Perseverance will be sent to Earth to look for signs of life.

Could an ancient lake on Mars have supported life? We may soon find out!

Perseverance is a rover [vehicle that lands on other planets or the Moon to collect data] that is exploring an area of Mars called the Jezero crater. One of Perseverance’s jobs is to look for evidence of life. Today Mars is dry and frozen. But previous rovers have found evidence of water on the planet. Recent data from Perseverance gives solid evidence that there was so much water on the planet that it formed rivers and lakes.

Perseverance has many instruments that help scientists study Mars. One of its instruments is a radar system. It allows scientists to “see” below the planet’s surface. The radar findings show that the crater once contained a lake. They also reveal evidence of many environmental changes in the planet’s past.

This illustration shows the ancient lake in Jezero Crater on Mars.

Perseverance collected soil and rock samples. They will be brought back to Earth for study. Scientists are excited because they know that a lake is a great place to find life. And ancient lakes are known for preserving fossils [remains or traces of living things from the past]. What will scientists find?

What Do You Think? Will scientists find evidence of life on Mars?

Photo Credit: (t)NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, (b)NASA/JPL-Caltech