This YearApr 3, 2023
Nasa may have collected the first evidence of life on Mars… but it will take us ten years to find out. Last week, Nasa’s Perseverance rover drilled down into a rocky outcrop - dubbed Berea - which likely formed from deposits carried downstream by an ancient river that flowed well beyond the Jezero crater that the rover has been exploring. The rock is sedimentary and composed of carbonate minerals, which on Earth, often contain fossils. Nasa is planning to bring the samples to Earth, alongside dozens of others that it is collecting from the Jezero crater - the site of an ancient Martian lake. But the samples are not due to arrive here until 2033, meaning scientists face an agonising wait to find out whether the precious cores really do contain proof that life once existed on the Red Planet.