Nasa rover reaches critical ancient Mars river where it could find ALIEN life – and it will be sent back to Earth

NASA'S major Mars mission has reached a critical stage in its search for signs of alien life.

A six-wheeled robot that's been on the Red Planet for over a year is about to climb an ancient delta where evidence of past life could be hidden.

The Perseverance rover will go on the hunt for rock samples it believes could hold the crucial answer, using a drill.

It'll then head back down, dropping off the pieces at the base for collection on a later mission.

Space experts hope to bring back the samples to Earth for study sometime in the 2030s.

Much of Nasa's work has centred on a part of Mars known as the Jezero Crater, where Perseverance arrived in February 2021.

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So far, it has mainly been carrying out tests, along with its helicopter pal Ingenuity.

Scientists have to be sure about where they intend to grab samples, as they only have 43 collection tubes available.

They hope to find out whether they contain ancient microbes and organics.

"The delta at Jezero Crater promises to be a veritable geologic feast and one of the best locations on Mars to look for signs of past microscopic life," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

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"The answers are out there – and Team Perseverance is ready to find them."

It comes after a recent scare that saw Nasa lose contact with its Mars helicopter for two days.

Scientists believe the $80million Ingenuity chopper felt the wrath of vicious dust and extremely cold conditions on the Red Planet.

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The dust prevents the tech from catching sunlight that keeps it powered up, causing its clocks to go out of sync with the Perseverance rover on the ground.

This meant when the helicopter thought it was time to send data to the rover, the base station wasn’t listening.

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