Life on Mars? Meet the new rover built to give us the answer

Roger Wiens is the principal investigator of the ChemCam and SuperCam instruments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory. SuperCam is a product of a United States-France partnership, along with support from Spain. Wiens contributed this article to’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. 

Plenty of sci-fi movies over the decades have shown us fictionalized versions of Mars that include everything from hurricane-force winds (in the critically acclaimed 2015 movie “The Martian“) to human-devouring plants (in the universally panned 1959 movie “The Angry Red Planet”). The truth about the Martian surface might not be as dramatic but, I would argue, it is equally as exciting — if not more so, because it’s real. And with NASA’s Mars 2020 mission set to launch this summer, we’re on the cusp of even more discovery.

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