Rock samples approximately 5 cm deep will also be collected and stored in sealed containers for future collection mission. We can perform a more accurate and detailed analysis on Earth than is possible with instruments sent to Mars. In addition, different types of analyzes can be performed in laboratories around the world in order to obtain better comprehensive results. For example, if evidence of an extinct life form is suspected in a sample, an electron microscope (which examines a sample with electrons instead of light) can be used to try to find out if it contains fossil microbial cells.
All of this work is based on our very narrow understanding of what life is like. We know only one type of life – the one on Earth. Our experiences seek life based on our current knowledge. However, it is possible that there is a form of life beyond our current view, for example that is based on silicon rather than carbon. Perseverance could not be detected, even if it spread out on Mars.
Unless something starts moving in front of the camera, obtaining conclusive data will likely be a long process, especially as we will have to wait for the stored samples to be analyzed. If evidence of life is found, the next steps will be to discover it using various techniques, confirm that it is not contamination from the ground and determine if the evidence takes into account the environment and data from other tools.
Any evidence of life must undergo a rigorous scientific process of analysis, reanalysis, and peer review. Moreover, perseverance will be tested in a single crater on Mars.
However, other missions to search for life soon followed, including the European Space Agency’s Rosalind Franklin spacecraft. Rosalind Franklin will be the first to excavate two meters below the harsh Martian ice surface. If there is life on Mars currently, we will likely find it deep in the surface, as the surface is constantly bombarded by harmful radiation.
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