Mars Technica

Could Jezero Crater hold the keys to unlocking an ancient and hidden past when life existed on the Martian surface? As NASA’s Perseverance rover heads to Mars to find out, we take you on board the spacecraft to learn more about some of its incredible exploratory technology from the scientists who created it.


  • Bonus: SuperCam talks!

    NASA’s Perseverance rover is zooming toward Mars on its 300-million-mile journey. A few weeks ago, as it traveled at more than 24,000 miles per hour, something really cool happened.

  • Mars needs women: ChemCam and the future of space missions

    An extraordinary instrument aboard Curiosity has been investigating the chemical building blocks of life and making exciting discoveries about Mars' habitability — with an extraordinary team at the helm.

  • What rocks may reveal about Martian life

    Before we can dive into answering questions about life on Mars, we have to answer some questions about life on Earth — and rocks throughout the American Southwest have a lot to add to the conversation.

  • A day in the life of a Mars rover

    Learn how the team will operate the rover from millions of miles away, discover some theories about where possible Martian life could have gone, and listen to caution about why we shouldn’t jump to any conclusions about life on the Red Planet — not yet.

  • Searching for signs of life on Mars

    The dusty Mars of today looked a lot different in the deep past. NASA’s Perseverance rover is headed for a spot that scientists believe was a river delta. There, its instruments will search for signs that life could have once existed.

  • Plutonium power

    To have the kind of dependable power needed to explore the sub-zero temperatures of Mars, the rover needs a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) — essentially a nuclear battery that uses heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238 to generate electricity as a kind of fuel. NNSA Administrator and Under Secretary for Nuclear Security of the Department of Energy Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Thom Mason and engineer Jackie Lopez-Barlow explain how it works.

    It takes a special battery to power a rover on another planet.

  • The eye on the rover

    At the end of the long-necked mast on top of the rover sits something that looks like a head with one wide eye. That’s SuperCam. The suite of instruments will zap rocks and examine their chemical and mineral makeup. In this episode, scientists Roger Wiens and Patrick Gasda take us on a guided tour of this fascinating instrument.

  • Was there life on Mars?

    Mars has captivated the imaginations of humankind for centuries. The Perseverance rover will dig into the Red Planet’s past to find out if ancient life once existed on the Martian surface — but to fully understand what we want to learn, we have to look back at what we already know. In this episode, scientists Roger Wiens and Nina Lanza talk about some of the discoveries we’ve already made — and what the future could hold.