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Alberta-based scientist part of NASA Mars probe looking for signs of life

Engineers monitor a driving test for the Mars rover Perseverance in a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in this Dec. 17, 2019 photo made available by NASA. A Canadian scientist says helping NASA with a mission to Mars that will look for signs of life is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. Chris Herd of the University of Alberta is one of the advisors on a Mars probe that will pick up rocks on the red planet, study them, then seal them away to be picked up on a later mission. Herd says Perseverance, the latest Mars rover, is being sent to an ancient lake bed on the theory that those places are most likely to contain signs of life. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, HO - NASA, J. Krohn *MANDATORY CREDIT*.

A Canadian scientist says helping NASA with a mission to Mars to look for signs of life is the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

Chris Herd of the University of Alberta is one of the advisers on a Mars probe that is to pick up rocks on the red planet, study them, then seal them away to be picked up on a later mission.

Herd says Perseverance, the latest Mars rover, is being sent to an ancient lake bed on a theory that such spots are most likely to contain signs of life.

Read more: Spacecraft gets ready for Mars launch: NASA, China and UAE hope to find signs of life

The Perseverance is to be launched Thursday.

Herd says he first began dreaming about working with rocks from Mars when he was 13 years old.

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NASA plans to return to Mars to retrieve samples left by Perseverance in about a decade.

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