Curious Mars

Mars: September 2020

Recent science missions and results are bringing the search for life closer to home, and scientists at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) and the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) may have figured out how to determine whether life is--or was--lurking deep beneath the surface of Mars, the Moon, and other rocky objects in the universe.

NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has a challenging road ahead: After having to make it through the harrowing entry, descent, and landing phase of the mission on Feb. 18, 2021, it will begin searching for traces of microscopic life from billions of years back.

In a little more than a decade, samples of rover-scooped Martian soil will rocket to Earth.

NASA should design missions to Mars for the purpose of generating "Aha!" discoveries to jolt scientists contemplating the molecular origins of life.