The Courier-Mail

LIFE LOOKING FOR MICROBIAL

- Learn more: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/ Explore Mars yourself: google.com/mars/ marstrek. jpl.nasa.gov

DR ABIGAIL Allwood has been appointed one of seven principal science investigat­ors in NASA’s next mission to the red planet, the 2020 Mars mission. She is the first woman and first Australian to be given the prestigiou­s role. She will be in charge of an instrument called the Planetary Instrument X-ray Lithochemi­stry, or PIXL for short, that will use X-rays to examine the chemistry of rock samples in search of evidence of life. Mars 2020 rover is being designed to seek signs of past life on Mars, collect and store a set soil and rock samples that could be returned to Earth in the future, and test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploratio­n of Mars.

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