NASA Perseverance Rover Mars Human Mission
NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission is just 16-days (Feb. 18) from landing on the surface of the Red Planet. When it reaches the top of Mars’ atmosphere, an thrilling seven minutes of descent awaits, complete with temperatures equivalent to the surface of the Sun, a supersonic parachute inflation, and the first autonomous guided landing on the Red Planet. The six-wheeled robotic geologist will then search Jezero Crater for signs of ancient life and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth. Read more for two videos and additional information.

Why is Jezero Crater significant? It’s the ideal place to search for signs of ancient microbial life, as billions of years ago, the basin was home to an actively-forming river delta and lake filled with water. The material that Perseverance’s Sample Caching System collects from Jezero could help answer fundamental questions about the existence of life beyond Earth. There are currently two missions in the planning stages by NASA, in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency).

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NASA has been exploring Mars since Mariner 4 performed a flyby in July of 1965, with two more flybys, seven successful orbiters, and eight landers since then. Perseverance, which was built from the collective knowledge gleaned from such trailblazers, has the opportunity to not only expand our knowledge of the Red Planet, but to investigate one of the most important and exciting questions of humanity about the origin of life both on Earth and also on other planets,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.