In another historic Mars-bound mission, NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully landed at the Jezero Crater on the Red Planet that has a long journey to search the Jezero Crater and find signs of ancient life on Mars.
Perseverance hit the Martian atmosphere on the scheduled time at 3:48PM ET diving at a speed of about 12,100 miles per hour toward the surface in an infamously challenging sequence engineers call the “seven minutes of terror” with an 11-minute delay in communication between Earth and Mars, the spacecraft had to carry out its seven-minute drop by itself with a complex set of pre-programmed instructions.
The rover landed at 3:55PM ET on the surface and marked sixth successful landing by NASA on Mars.
The $2.7 billion Perseverance rover is a moving laboratory on Mars that will explore the crater for years, collect soil samples for future missions, analyze the structure of Martian rocks with a laser-beaming camera system, and deploy a four-foot wide helicopter named Ingenuity, that will demonstrate the first powered flight on another planet.
NASA’s largest rover was launched using ULA’s Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in July 2020 after UAE’s Hope spacecraft and China’s Tianwen-1 which is awaiting to land on the Red Planet till May-June.
NASA’s mission of landing its rover to the Jezero Crater was the most challenging mission as the crater includes steep cliffs, massive boulders, and sandy pits. Scientists believes that the 28-mile-wide hole was a river delta some 3.5 billion years ago — potentially a goldmine for fossilized microorganisms.
The success of this mission makes way for the next ambitious mission for NASA that plans to return samples from the Red Planet in partnership with European Space Agency to send a fleet of spacecraft to Mars and collect the soil samples Perseverance will scatter around the Jezero crater.
The mission is scheduled for 2026.