WATCH LIVE: NASA's Perseverance Rover lands on Mars - Mars Landing Live!
NASA’s Perseverance Rover has reached the Red Planet and will go through the final phase known as Entry, Descent and Landing. Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, aboard an ULA’s Atlas V-541 rocket, and will land on Mars at Jezero Crater after travelling about 293 million miles, or 471 million kilometers.
Landing window begins at 03:55pm ET (08:55pm UTC)
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Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, with a name that embodies NASA’s passion, and the nation’s capability, to take on and overcome challenges. It will collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for future return to Earth, search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet’s geology and climate, and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.
Perseverance is also ferrying several cutting-edge technologies to the surface of Mars – including a helicopter named Ingenuity, the first aircraft to attempt powered, controlled flight on another planet.
During a prime mission that will last one Mars year (about 687 Earth days), Perseverance’s exploration of Jezero Crater will address high-priority science goals for Mars exploration. A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will also characterize the planet’s climate and geology, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first planetary mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
The intense entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase begins when the spacecraft reaches the top of the Martian atmosphere, traveling at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph). EDL ends about seven minutes later, with the rover stationary on the Martian surface. Many engineers refer to the time it takes to land on Mars as the “seven minutes of terror.” Not only is the choreography of EDL complex, but the time delay involved in communicating with Earth means that the spacecraft has to accomplish this choreography all by itself. While all landings on Mars are difficult, Perseverance is landing in the most challenging terrain ever targeted. Jezero Crater is a 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) impact basin with an intriguing ancient river delta as well as steep cliffs, sand dunes, boulder fields, and smaller impact craters. Landing at Jezero Crater is only possible because of new EDL technologies such as Range Trigger and Terrain-Relative Navigation.
Courtesy of NASA
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