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Why Mars Matters

The successful landing of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars is about far more than scientific curiosity or national prestige. For the sake of humanity's long-term survival, it is imperative that we embrace our technological know-how to establish life beyond planet Earth.

NEW YORK – The Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars this month, marks a new leap toward answering fundamental questions about our solar system, including where else we might find DNA. The rover will roam the surface of Mars looking for signs of life, make its own oxygen, launch a helicopter, and collect soil and rocks for a follow-up mission in 2028. If all goes as planned, NASA, with the help of European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft, will return soil samples in the spring of 2032 – the first Martian material to visit Earth.