If all goes as scheduled, NASA tomorrow will launch its Perseverance rover to Mars. Two members of the mission’s scientific team explain why this is likely the best chance in our lifetimes to find signs of life on the Red Planet.

Also in this week’s science and research news: what medicine knows about children and COVID-19, studying tsetse flies' lactation for disease prevention and the story of Marie Tharp, a pioneer in mapping the ocean floor.

Martin La Monica

Deputy Editor

In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., engineers observed the first driving test for the Mars rover, Perseverance. Perseverance will search for signs of past microbial life, characterize Mars’ climate and geology, and collect samples for a future return to Earth. NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s big move to search for life on Mars – and to bring rocks home

Briony Horgan, Purdue University; Melissa Rice, Western Washington University

This summer, NASA's Mars Perseverance rover is taking the next giant leap in our search for signs of life beyond Earth.

Children are at risk of getting sick from coronavirus and need to practice social distancing and mask wearing too. AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

Yes, kids can get COVID-19 – 3 pediatricians explain what’s known about coronavirus and children

Kathryn Moffett-Bradford, West Virginia University; Martin Weisse, West Virginia University; Shipra Gupta, West Virginia University

Research shows that children can become infected with the coronavirus and spread it to others. Though rare, some kids do become severely ill and a few have died from COVID-19.

When they suck your blood they can leave behind the parasite that causes sleeping sickness. Patrick Robert/Sygma via Getty Images

Bloodthirsty tsetse flies nurse their young, one live birth at a time – understanding this unusual strategy could help fight the disease they spread

Geoff Attardo, University of California, Davis

This insect's unique reproductive biology could lead to new ways to control the species in the environment – and prevent the deadly sleeping sickness it spreads to people.

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