Purdue University researchers help NASA in pursuit of life on Mars

Briony Horgan's presentation assisted NASA in finding an appropriate landing spot for the latest rover on Mars. It's all part of an effort to find life on the Red Planet.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 5:56 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2020 7:19 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue University has always had its eye on the sky. A professor at the University and her team are shifting the school's focus temporarily away from the Moon, and moving interest to Mars. 

NASA recently launched its latest rover, Perseverance, to the 'Red Planet' more than 60-million miles away. 

"The goal of the mission is to look for signs of ancient life on Mars," said Professor of planetary science Briony Horgan. 

"This rover is the culmination of about more than 30 years of NASA's exploration of Mars, and the goal of that exploration all along has been to understand whether or not Mars ever supported life."

Horgan's team represents a small portion of decades of work to find life on Mars. Her team helped develop the cameras on the new rover, and even the research to find the destination for the mission.

"This landing site we are going to Jezero Crater, is special because it records a time in Mars' history, when Mars was wet and had rain falling and rivers flowing, and lakes on the surface," said Horgan. 

"If we find it, it's just going to be one of the most incredible scientific findings ever, because it will finally help us answer the question, are we alone in the Universe?"

The answer might be closer thank we think. 

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