She designed a device to look for signs of past life on Mars

Astrobiologist Abigail Allwood’s creation has a Star Wars look and a vital mission: to crawl on the red planet’s surface looking for ancient microbes.

If there’s ever been life on Mars, she could be the one to find it.

To discover the earliest signs of life on Earth, astrobiologist Abigail Allwood trekked to an isolated Australian desert. Now she’s searching for signs of life from a distance, on a planet where she will probably never go.

Allwood works at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is a principal investigator for the Mars 2020 rover mission—the first mission, she says, with “the primary objective of searching for evidence of past life on Mars.” Allwood’s job is to examine the chemical composition of the red planet for evidence of ancient microbes.

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