Australia goes to Mars

Mars missions - NASA Perseverance
Artist’s impression of the NASA Perseverance mission preparing for landing. Image: NASA

It’s no secret that here at Careers with STEM we are excited and intrigued by all things space. We even put together an out-of-this world space issue!

Keeping up with Mars missions is a must for us too. Did you know there are three taking place in February alone? And one is happening TODAY?

That’s right, NASA Perseverance Mission from the United States is about to land on Mars and look for signs of past microbial life, cache rock and soil samples, and prepare for human exploration.

Oh, and a tiny piece of Australia will arrive with it!

It was provided by geoscientist Associate Professor Patrice Rey of the University of Sydney, who chiselled out a small piece of the Pilbara five years ago, sent it overseas to colleagues – then forgot about it. Oops!

So what’s it doing on Mars? Well, it’s geologically similar to area being explored by Perseverance and will help the rover on its hunt for evidence of previous life on the Red Planet.

“With seven mini-laboratories and the drone Ingenuity, it [Perseverance] will scan, probe and analyse the surface and sub-surface of the red planet to search for life-related organic compounds and to prepare rock samples that will be brought back to Earth in a future mission,” says Patrice.

RELATED: Curiosity rover celebrates 3000 days on Mars

Other February Mars missions

  • On February 9, the Emirates Mars Mission from the United Arab Emirates arrived to build a complete picture of the red planet’s atmosphere.
  • On February 10, Tianwen-1 Mission from China arrived in Martian orbit and will officially touch down in May. What will it be doing? Well, it’ll research Mars’ soil, geological structure, environment, water and atmosphere. What a big job!

RELATED: Six space missions to look forward to in 2021

Space careers

If these Mars missions have you pumped to get into space, we’ve got everything you need to know about launching your very own space career.

You should also take a look at these five jobs you could score with a space science degree!

Careers with STEM: Space 2021And be sure to have a read of Careers with STEM: Space 2021. Inside you’ll find a range of jobs in the space sector and the lowdown on space law and space medicine.

We also share the stories of awesome space peeps who have a variety of expertise in manufacturing, coding, research and communication. There’s even scientists working with NASA and space engineers building their own startups.

Space has something for everyone and the space industry is set for lift off. Get amongst it!

Louise Meers

Author: Louise Meers

Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.


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