Edmonton scientist part of NASA Mars 2020 rover mission

A University of Alberta scientist will soon have an out-of-this-world experience.

Chris Herd has been chosen for a key role in NASA’s Mars 2020 mission.

This will mark the first time a rover is sent to collect samples from the planet, with hopes of them being returned through a future mission.

Herd won’t actually go to Mars, but will be one of 10 experts who will help ensure samples collected by the rover will give insights to the planet’s geological history.

“My interest in Mars goes back a long time. In fact, I was 13 years old when I decided that I wanted to work on rocks from Mars.”

“I guess you can say that I had a life-long goal to work on these Mars rocks,” Herd said.

The rover will land on the planet Feb. 18, 2021. It will seek signs of past microbial life and characterize the planet’s climate and geology. It will be the first rover to ever carry a drill for coring samples from Martian rocks and soil.

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