NASA says it may finally be able to reveal whether Mars is home to alien life as they launch a new mission sending a rover onto the Red Planet.

The Space Agency’s Perseverance rover is set to collect rocks and place them in the base of a crater so they can eventually be retrieved on future trips.

Scientists reckon the Jezero crater could have held a river delta with water that may have sustained ancient microbial life.

Research said water could have flowed on the planet 3.7 billion years ago and even found evidence of an ancient Martian lake.

The boffins also found large boulders and finely-grained clay that could hold evidence of life forms visiting the planet.

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The rover has been carrying out missions in space for over a year

Perseverance is set to visit a part of Mars known as Devils Tanyard to find sampling sites, before moving onto Rocky Top and collecting rocks that will eventually be returned to Earth.

On a previous mission, the rover – which first arrived on the Red Planet in February 2021 – helped to find organic molecules in rocks on the Jezero Crater.

Little is known about previous life on Mars - but that could be about to change
Little is known about previous life on Mars – but that could be about to change

Leading scientist Dr Katie Stack Morgan told BBC News: “The delta in Jezero Crater is the main astrobiology target of Perseverance.

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“These are the rocks that we think likely have the highest potential for containing signs of ancient life and can also tell us about the climate of Mars and how this has evolved over time.”

Whilst NASA administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said it “promises to be a veritable geologic feast and one of the best locations on Mars to look for signs of past microscopic life”.

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He added: “The answers are out there – and Team Perseverance is ready to find them.”

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It isn’t the only exciting mission NASA is carrying out in deep space and the organisation recently extended the trips of eight of its spacecraft.

Their exciting expeditions will encounter a whopping 1,200 foot asteroid, monitor earthquakes on Mars and even seek ice on the moon.

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