A new BBC documentary will see Professor Brian Cox spend a week on Mars through the eyes of NASA’s Perseverance rover.
Seven Days On Mars is described as a “unique television event” which will air across 90 minutes on BBC Two and iPlayer.
It will see Professor Brian Cox fulfil a childhood dream by going behind the scenes at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), mission control Mars.
The BBC share: “Over the course of a week he joins the team as they navigate the rover’s every move across the floor of Jezero crater towards the remains of an ancient river delta – that may contain the evidence of ancient life on Mars.
“In the process, Brian will reveal how the mission could potentially transform our understanding of life not just on Mars but Earth as well. This is the inside story of a pioneering quest into the unknown.”
Brian said: “The nature of origin of life is one of the great unanswered scientific questions. Here on Earth, life was present around 3.8 billion years ago, but the evidence for how it arose has been weathered away and erased by the geological activity of our planet. Mars, however, is a different story.
“It was decidedly Earth-like at the same time, with rain, rivers and lakes, but it soon entered a geological deep-freeze from which it never emerged. If there were Martians, the evidence for their emergence from the geology and chemistry of a young, active world may be far better preserved.
“The Perseverance Rover, and the Mars Sample Return missions to follow, may therefore answer a deeper question even than ‘Is there life on Mars?’
“They may reveal how life begins across the Universe, including here on Earth, and give us unique insight into our own origins.”
Seven Days on Mars will air on BBC Two and iPlayer later in 2022.