NASA VIDEO: Scientists Shrink Chemistry Lab to Seek Evidence of Life on Mars

By  //  May 28, 2018

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will be launched to Red Planet in July 2020

ABOVE VIDEO: The European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover is headed to the red planet in 2020, on a mission to search for signs of past or present life.

(NASA) – An international team of scientists has created a tiny chemistry lab for a rover that will drill beneath the Martian surface looking for signs of past or present life.

The toaster oven-sized lab, called the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer or MOMA, is a key instrument on the ExoMars Rover, a joint mission between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, with a significant contribution to MOMA from NASA.

It will be launched toward the Red Planet in July 2020.

“The ExoMars Rover’s two-meter deep drill will provide MOMA with unique samples that may contain complex organic compounds preserved from an ancient era, when life might have gotten started on Mars,” said MOMA Project Scientist Will Brinckerhoff of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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Although the surface of Mars is inhospitable to known forms of life today, there is evidence that in the distant past, the Martian climate allowed the presence of liquid water – an essential ingredient for life – at the surface.

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