Saturday, August 12, 2006
The launch of the Mars Phoenix Lander is just a year away. The spacecraft will be aiming for the martian north pole, and if it lands successfully it will dig in snow and ice in one of the few places on Mars where scientists think life could be preserved.
Chris McKay, a planetary scientist with NASA's Ames Research Center, is a co-investigator for the Phoenix Lander, as well as for the Mars Science Laboratory, which is scheduled for launch in 2009. In this interview with Astrobiology Magazine editor Leslie Mullen, McKay explains why future Mars missions must dig deeper to learn about the martian potential for life. [Interview follows]