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NASA’s life-hunting Mars rover is officially on its way to the Red Planet

The Verge:

a six-wheeled SUV-sized robot named Perseverance — successfully launched from Florida this morning, embarking on a nearly seven-month journey to the Red Planet. Once it reaches Mars, it will attempt a harrowing landing to the surface and start exploring the planet’s terrain, hoping to solve the biggest lingering mysteries about Mars’ past.

The primary focus of Perseverance’s mission is to find out if Mars ever hosted life some 3.8 billion years ago. The rover is equipped with multiple instruments to search for signs of ancient microbes that may be lurking in the rocks and dirt on Mars. But most important of all, Perseverance is decked out with a sophisticated drilling system, designed to dig up samples of the planet’s surface, package them, and leave them in strategic deposits on Mars.

Love this type of stuff.