Discussing images of the Mars surface, he told BBC Newsnight: “You’re looking at a new vista that nobody has ever seen before.
“It looks like a very desolate place; reddish colour, rocks strewn.
“But about 3.7 billion years ago, we think the crater that Perseverance landed in was actually a lake, so you would have been sitting in the middle of a lake.
“The goals over the next year or so are going to be looking at the rocks we can see in the foreground and the background and trying to work out if the environment was actually habitable for life.”
The project is so complex that gathered samples will not be returned until the 2030s, and hundreds of the world’s top scientists are offering their wisdom to the investigation.
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