Black and white photo of Andrew in a crowd of people at a conference. The angle of the camera is from above. Andrew looks into the camera wearing a white sweater and holding a cup of coffee. A focal blur means only he is in focus.The logo for NExSS in black against a white background. Letters are in square, capital letters apart from the 'x', which is composed of two swooping lines representing orbits with one Earth-like planet following along one of the paths.Nicholson stands to the left of frame in a blue button up shirt with sleeves rolled to the elbow. He is holding up a rectangular metal panel. In the middle of the panel is a circle of simulated meteorite material. Parked behind him is a Space Shuttle.Patterning of metamorphosis in the starfish is seen in seven stages, progressing from a tall shape with bulges reaching up down to a circular blob of material.
In Memoriam: Andrzej PohorilleMay 14, 1949 – January 6, 202401/04
Assessment of NASA’s NExSS Research Coordination NetworkFindings of the assessment of the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) have been released.02/04
In Memoriam: Wayne Lowell NicholsonMarch 26, 1958–June 8, 202303/04
Where is the 'Head' in a Starfish?The Mystery of Echinoderm Body Plans04/04
Go Explore
Astrobiology Field SitesResearch LocationsExplore Field Sites in More DetailExplore
Illustration of the Perseverance rover arriving on Mars.

NASA's Mars 2020 mission is the next step in NASA's long-term robotic exploration of Mars. The rover Perseverance will provide important data relevant to astrobiology research, along with a vast amount of geological information about the landing site and the planet at large that will help put the astrobiological data into context.

Perseverance will not be looking for organisms living on Mars today. However, the rover will collect data that could be used to identify biosignatures of ancient microbial life.

What really sets this mission apart is that Perseverance will be collecting a suite of samples to be returned to Earth via a Mars Sample Return mission. The opportunity to bring back samples from another planet will allow our researchers to interrogate them with all of the sophistication and thoroughness that Earth-based instrumentation provides.

Learn more