MIT Technology Review @techreview A media company making technology a greater force for good. Get our journalism: Nov. 14, 2019 1 min read

NASA’s mission to Mars in 2020 could be our best opportunity yet to discover signs of extraterrestrial life. 

A pair of new studies have unearthed evidence that Jezero crater—the landing site of the Mars 2020 rover—is home to hydrated silica and carbonates, materials often associated with preserving evidence of ancient life. 

Those new findings bolster hopes the 28-mile-wide crater will give us proof that life once existed on Mars, back when it was warm and teeming with liquid water on the surface.

Even if the rover runs into any walls (literal or otherwise) and fails to determine whether these minerals are associated with ancient Martian life forms, the mission will secure samples for laboratory analysis back on Earth.

The silica and carbonate deposits will surely be near the top of the “must return” list. 

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