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Looking for Life on Mars - A Rover's Year on the Red Planet

March 25, 2024

In February 2021, the robot "Perseverance" landed successfully on Mars. However, this success was never a given. The film shows the difficult work involved in developing the robot, right up to its successful landing.

Doku | Stills aus: Mars - Leben auf dem Roten Planeten?
Image: Arte France
Doku | Stills aus: Mars - Leben auf dem Roten Planeten?
Image: Arte France

The new robot NASA sent to Mars is called "Perseverance". Its mission? To search for evidence of past life on the Red Planet - an important and ambitious endeavor. It took years to design the space probe and its small helicopter drone, called "Ingenuity". This documentary follows the rover's development, right up to its landing in the Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.

The mission proved to be a complete success: the robot landed safely and all the instruments on board functioned smoothly. As a result, "Perseverance" was able to deliver high-resolution images of Mars. But getting there was an arduous journey for all involved.

Doku | Stills aus: Mars - Leben auf dem Roten Planeten?
Image: Arte France


On site, "Perseverance" takes samples from the crater, which scientists believe was once a river delta. Geological traces of past life - so-called biosignatures - could be hidden in the rock. Eventually, these samples will be brought back to Earth for analysis. Among other things, they could provide insights into possible life on Mars.



Mars Helikopter Erster Testflug
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Zumapress/picture alliance


The four-pound mini-helicopter "Ingenuity", which traveled in the belly of the rover, is now carrying out a series of test flights. These are the first of their kind to be undertaken on another planet. Another task of "Perseverance" is to test an innovative technology for extracting oxygen from the atmosphere. It is hoped that the gas can be used as fuel -- or to supply oxygen for future manned flights to Mars.



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