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Georgia College Student Played Important Role in NASA’s Mars Mission

A truly historic space event happened on February 18; NASA landed its fifth rover, Perseverance, on the surface of Mars.

The main mission is to search for signs of microbial life in the soil, collect samples, in the hopes a future mission can bring them back to earth.

This is something that’s never been done before.

Georgia Tech senior Breanna Ivey tested out the math that helps the rover move during an internship last year. She told news source that she is beyond excited for the recent landing.

“It will be exciting anyway, if I didn’t have a role in it, but it’s even more exciting to know that I touched something that is going to land on Mars and be the first step in a mission to actually bring samples back,” Ivey said.

Since July 30, the rover has shot through space. Ivey also soared through a space where few Black women have made their mark.

“Being a Black woman in STEM, people may try to make you feel like you don’t belong. But always know that you belong in every room that you are put in, and that you bring something to every conversation that’s being had. So you are valuable in every space that you are in,” Ivey said.

Where there was water, there may have been life. That’s why NASA wants Perseverance snooping around Jezero Crater, once home to a lake fed by a river. It’s now bone dry, but 3.5 billion years ago, this Martian lake was as big and wet as Nevada and California’s Lake Tahoe. Perseverance will shoot lasers at rocks judged most likely to contain evidence of past microscopic life, analyzing the emitted vapor, and drill into the best candidates. A few dozen core samples — about a pound’s worth (one-half kilogram) of rock and dust — will be set aside in sealed titanium tubes for future pickup.