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NASA successfully launched and landed another rover on Mars. Its called the “Perseverance”- named by Alex Mather, a 7th grader from Springfield, Virginia, USA. The rover will answer one of the biggest questions humanity has ever asked- “where do we come from?”. Let’s see how…
Some quick facts:
The Perseverance Rover was launched on July 30, 2020, and successfully touched down on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021. The touchdown location was “Jezero Crater”. The mission of the rover is to search for signs of ancient life on Mars.
Why the Jezero Crater?
Scientists analyzed over 60 potential landing locations for the Perseverance Rover. After a 5-year study, they chose Jezero Crater as they believe that this crater was once a lake filled with liquid water. Many dry river deltas can be observed in the Jezero Crater that must have fed it with water.
The Jezero Crater is 45 miles wide and is 3700 kilometers from Curiosity Rover’s landing site.
This crater was perfect for microbial life to survive. If they did exist in this lake, signs of their remains should be there in the lakebed. Scientists will seek such signs and collect rock and soil samples that preserve them.
The Rover’s Mission:
The Perseverance Rover’s main goal is to search for signs of ancient microbial life. This will allow scientists to learn more about how Mars was habitable in the past. In addition, it will also look for unique rocks that are known to “preserve” life over time. Meaning there could be life on Mars Right now! The rover will drill and collect such rock and soil samples that will be brought back to Earth for analysis through a future mission.
Moreover, the Rover will also test oxygen production from Martian atmosphere. This is being carried out to research and explore more possibilities on how humans can survive on Mars.
The Mars Helicopter:
For the first time, a man-made object is going to fly on Mars! It’s a helicopter named “ingenuity- named by Vaneeza Rupani, a 11th grader from Alabama”.
This helicopter is a “technology demonstration”. It will be used to learn more about flight on Mars.