If all goes well, NASA is launching a new mission to Mars called Perseverance. It will arrive at the Red Planet in February, 2021.
The landing site is Jezero Crater. NASA chose this site because scientists feel it’s a good spot to look for evidence of ancient microbial life.
The crater was likely formed billions of years ago by the impact of a meteor or comet. Then scientists believe it turned into a lake with a connected river when liquid water existed on the planet. Since rivers and lakes are teeming with bacteria and other microorganisms on Earth, this is a good location to search for any evidence that microbial life might have once existed on Mars.
There is a crewless rover with multiple instruments that will be able to explore and analyze the area. And for the first time, NASA is sending a drone sized helicopter that will be able to fly short distances and obtain views from above.
It’s quite exciting, and I hope that all goes well. It would be amazing if evidence that life had once lived on Mars was found. But either way, it will be a great accomplishment that will help us understand the Solar System in which we live that much more.
Good luck NASA and thanks to all the people who have worked so tirelessly and anonymously to make this mission happen.
Check the links I’ve provided for more information including some nifty graphics.