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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Life-Hunting Mars Mission Idea Makes Progress, But Needs Cash


A concept mission that would fire scientific missiles at Mars to search for signs of subsurface life is making technical strides, team members say, but it still needs quite a bit of financial help to get off the ground.

New computer modeling work suggests that the proposed ExoLance mission's arrow-like "penetrators" could indeed reach at least 3.3 feet (1 meter) beneath the Martian surface, a depth at which microbial life may be able to survive on the Red Planet, researchers said.

"We are encouraged by these preliminary results that the fundamental concept of the ExoLance design can be made to work," Joe Cassady, executive director for space at California-based firm Aerojet Rocketdyne, which performed the simulations, said in a statement.

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