Mars Perseverance Rover Lands!

Mars Perseverance Rover Lands!

Sage Slessor, Staff Reporter

On February 18th, 2021, NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover made its final descent to the red planet. On Monday, NASA released a breathtaking video of the landing. This video captures the rover’s entry, descent, and landing on the Jezero Crater. This is the first time an event on mars has ever been captured on camera, the martian breeze is audible, as well as the mechanical sounds of the rover, maybe soon we will be hearing sounds of Martians. The Rover landed itself flawlessly on Thursday, and sent back its first images almost immediately after landing, the images depicted the rover’s shadow on the surface of its landing site, Jezero Crater. These iconic images exemplified the remarkable engineering and technological advances needed for the exploration.  

 

6 months ago the rover left Earth, starting on its 300 million mile journey to the red planet. Its landing was one of the most pivotal moments for NASA, as well as space-exploration history. The mission supports the envision of a future in human exploration on Mars, which is now projected for the 2030s, (NASA). 

On the planet, the rover will explore its landing site, Jezero Crater. This is the site of an ancient lake that evidence suggests existed 3.9 billion years ago, the exploration will include the search for microfossils in the rocks and soil there. Follow-up missions will return these samples to Earth in the 2030s. Bringing back these pristine samples will provide the opportunity for humans to study the planet more. What they could tell us is monumental-maybe that life may have once existed beyond Earth. Now that the rover has landed, the mission has truly begun. 

The rover will undergo several weeks of testing before beginning a two-week scientific investigation of Mars. While the rover will investigate the rock and sediment of the ancient lakebed, a fundamental part of its mission is astrobiology (search signs of ancient microbial life).

The Mars Perseverance rover is the most advanced rover NASA’s sent to another world. Packed with groundbreaking technology, the 2020 mission launched at the end of July. The Rover is about the size of a car. 

The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet. The rover lives up to its name, ‘Perseverance’ in that it succeeded its mission despite the pandemic, delays, and more obstacles that stood in its way. The goal is that it paves the way for human space exploration.