NASA's successful Mars landing will reveal yet more secrets from the red planet. But there is much we already know from Martian fragments that found their way to Earth.
Perseverance follows in the tracks of Curiosity. The latter's touchdown on Martian soil in 2012 marked the first successful use of several pioneering space technologies.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University/Arizona State University
Of the three probes to reach Mars this month, only two will land. But they will add to our growing knowledge of the red planet, and the search for evidence of life.
Illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars.
The Perseverance rover onboard Mars
2020 is our best bet for finding life on the red planet.
Artist’s rendition of NASA’s 2020 Mars rover collecting rocks with its robotic arm.
Martian meteorites allow scientists here on Earth to decode that planet's geology, more than a decade before the first missions are scheduled to bring rocks back home from Mars.
In the future, people may be able to go to Mars.
The first Martian might just be a human being.
Much of Mars’s surface is covered by fine-grained materials that hide the bedrock. The above bedrock is mostly exposed and it is in these areas that micrometeorites likely to accumulate.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
It's established Mars was once a planet with surface-level water. So with multiple MARS missions starting next year, the key to seeking out martian life may instead lie in the contents of its 'dust'.
Opportunity in Endurance Crater.
Rovers including 'Rosalind Franklin' will pick up where Opportunity left off – trying to answer the question of whether there is, or ever has been, life on Mars.
Signs of life on Mars? These are the tracks of NASA’s Curiosity rover exploring the Martian landscape.
Mars has long captured our imagination, from claims of canals to Martian attacks and now our latest NASA exploration to look inside the red planet.
If you went to Mars, you’d need to be able to survive an extremely punishing environment. This picture, taken by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, gives you an idea.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
I've worked with NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Project for 16 years. If you got yourself a ticket to Mars, here's how I'd advise you to prepare. And by the way, any mistake could kill you.
Once people get there, Mars will be contaminated with Earth life.
NASA/Pat Rawlings, SAIC
NASA's InSight Mars lander touches down Nov. 26, part of a careful robotic approach to exploring the red planet. But human exploration of Mars will inevitably introduce Earth life. Are you OK with that?
The moon is our closest neighbour and our best hope for building capacity to explore space.
An artist’s rendition of the InSight lander - which will collect data on what’s inside the planet Mars.
The InSight Lander mission to Mars is preparing for launch in May 2018. But there are seven (or eight) other planets to explore: why have we such a hang up on Mars?
Anastasiya (left) and myself working on the Haughton crater rim.
Will humans ever live on Mars? Whoever it is to get there first will benefit from the experiences of those who stayed in simulated Martian missions here on Earth.
It takes a lot of hard work (and a bit of luck) to get a view like this.
Recent high-profile disappointments make it tempting to this our efforts to explore Mars are cursed. But landing anywhere in space is hard – not least on the Red Planet.
Working out how Mars's carbon dioxide was turned into rock could help with carbon capture efforts on our own planet.
What are you thinking? Robots and humans working together need to understand – and even trust – each other.
People and machines need to be able to interact and communicate effectively. Right now we – and they – can't. But without that, we risk missing the potential benefits of collaboration.
Unlike science fiction films featuring grotesque aliens and faraway galaxies, Ridley Scott’s The Martian depicts a sci-fi space mission that could soon be science fact.
20th Century Fox
NASA has set a target date of 2030 for a manned mission to Mars. With no real scientific breakthroughs needed, success depends on developing the proper technology.
This digital false-colour image shows the dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on the planet. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Now that we have discovered liquid water on the surface of Mars, what does this mean for the prospects of finding life there, past or present?
Jean Paul Santos with the finished 4x4 sub-array antenna assembly that may help rovers talk directly with Earth.
New research provides a compact but powerful way for Mars rovers to communicate directly with Earth via an array of smaller antenna elements, bypassing the need for an intermediary.