Humans are trying their very best to land on Mars with UAE, China and US setting out on their latest missions recently, but that seems to be taking some time.
However, you can now get a closer look on Mars at the UK’s Natural History Museum. The famous London museum has now installed a new replica of the planet Mars in honor of American space agency NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Perseverance Rover that completed its journey to the red planet recently.
Measuring about 23 feet wide, the installation by UK artist Luke Jerram is suspended from the ceiling in the museum’s Hintze Hall. The Hall showcases artwork from previous NASA missions, with this one paying special tribute to the Perseverance rover, which made a seven-month voyage from Earth before finally landing on Mars recently.
The one downside? The Natural History Museum remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, so the public may not get to enjoy this incredible display anytime soon.
The Mars mission
The rover will search for traces of past microbial life, and scientists from the museum are collaborating with NASA and the European Space Agency to help make decisions on rock and soil sampling.
The fruits of this mission to Mars are also far off. According to the museum website, the Perseverance rover will gather “scientifically interesting Martian rock and soil samples to reconstruct the surface environment of Mars billions of years ago, when it is believed that life could have existed.”
The samples, however, won’t be retrieved until a later mission to Mars, planned for the early 2030s.
“The Perseverance rover has been specifically designed to search for evidence of ancient life on Mars,” professor Caroline Smith, one of the museum scientists, said. “Its ability to collect interesting samples for potential return to Earth gives us the best chance thus far to finally answer that big question of ‘Was there life on Mars?’ This would be one of the most significant scientific discoveries in history.”