Perseverance is one of NASA’s most technically advanced rovers and will search for signs of ancient life in the Martian terrain. It can detect organic matter and minerals and gather science data from a distance using cameras that zoom in on rock textures. It has a laser to zap rocks and study their composition, can collect and store ‘soil’ samples and even carries a Mars Helicopter, being the first aircraft to be flown on a planet beyond Earth.
How will this Mission Pave the way for Future Human Expeditions?
Using a suite of cutting-edge science instruments, the rover will test a technique for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identify other resources such as subsurface water and study weather, dust and other environmental factors that could affect future human missions to Mars.
When did it leave Earth?
The Perseverance Rover was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on 30th July 2020. Its mission duration is at least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days).
What about that landing ?
The most critical and difficult element of the entire mission is the stressful, seven minutes of entry, descent, and landing! The rover will plunge through the Martian atmosphere at about 20,000 kph, then deploy a parachute and thrusters to slow it down to about 5 kph. Finally a sky crane will lower the rover carefully to the surface, hopefully landing safely on its six wheels.
A lot could go wrong at this vital stage however NASA is confident all is in readiness for a perfect landing.
You can be part of the adventure by tuning in to watch the landing live plus participate in fun activities and receive updates as the space craft nears Mars.
Riley is an experienced astronomy guide who has been working within the astronomy community for several years. He is incredibly passionate about the night sky and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Math and Education.
READY FOR LANDING?
Perseverance will land on Mars at 3.15am, Friday 19th February 2021 (WA time).
We look forward to welcoming you to our friendly community of Stargazers & Astronomy Lovers where we thrive on making learning about the galaxy easy & fun!