A replica of Mars is now on display at the Natural History Museum in London
Posted on 22/02/2021

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London's Natural History Museum has installed a replica of the planet Mars to celebrate the arrival of NASA's Perseverance rover.

The Red Planet

The Red Planet
© Peter Jurik / 123RF

Inside the Hintze Hallat the Natural History Museum, a seven-meter-wide Mars replica, created by Luke Jerram, has been suspended from the ceiling. This replica is made up of previous atwork from NASA missions and is on display to commemorate the landing of the rover after a seven-month long journey from Earth. While on the Red Planet, the rover will search for traces of past microbial life. Also, scientists from the Natural History Museum are currently working with NASA and the European Space Agency to help advise on rock and soil sample collection.

The rover will select samples of Martian rock and soil that will be scientifically interesting in order to recreate the surface of Mars billions of years ago, back when it is believed life existed on the Red Planet.

Perseverance, which is the largest and most advanced vehicle that has been sent to Mars and any other planet, will land at Jezero crater, which is a 28-mile-wide depression that contains diverse sediments of an ancient river delta. Scientists believe that this is the environment that offers the most opportunity where past life could have been preserved. The vehicle will drill 7 cm into the rocky surface, it will then seal the samples in special tubes. Once the rover reaches a suitable location, it will place the tubes on the surface, which will then be retrieved by a retrieval mission which is planned for the early 2030s.

"The Perseverance rover has been specifically designed to search for evidence of ancient life on Mars," says Prof Smith. "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."

A Moon replica by the same artist

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Une publication partagée par Natural History Museum (@natural_history_museum)