NASA's Perseverance rover will begin its climb up the ancient delta feature known as "Hawksbill Gap" on Mars today, May 17, according to a post from NASA.
This is the Perseverance team's "main astrobiology target" and a key milestone for a mission that set out to find signs of ancient life on the red planet.
The Mars Perseverance rover will drive uphill with the aid of its autonomous navigation system, though the route has been carefully planned by the Perseverance team on Earth, more than 30 million miles away.
The rover will collect rock samples, which it will later place at the base of the delta for future retrieval missions to collect and bring back to Earth in the 2030s.
In an interview with the BBC, Perseverance deputy project scientist Dr. Katie Stack Morgan said, "the delta in Jezero Crater is the main astrobiology target of Perseverance. These are the rocks that we think likely have the highest potential for containing signs of ancient life and can also tell us about the climate of Mars and how this has evolved over time."
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