The rover's name Perseverance came from a seventh grader in Virginia, Alex Mather, who won an essay contest.
Nasa is set to launch an ambitious mission to Mars on Thursday with the liftoff of its next-generation Perseverance rover, a six-wheeled robot tasked with deploying a mini helicopter, testing out equipment for future human missions and searching for traces of past Martian life.
The U.S. remains the only country to land successfully at Mars. NASA will need to wait another two years for the next opportune launch window if it misses the window for any reason.
Once launched, the rover will then travel about seven months until it lands in Mars' Jezero Crater. Atlas V-541 is a two-stage launch expendable launch vehicle.
After travelling through space for about seven months, Perseverance is scheduled toland at Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021. That window comes in February 2021, which is when the spaceships are expected to arrive at Mars.
Researchers at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum will identify samples that could contain evidence of past life and study the mineralogy and geochemistry of the different rocks found in the crater.
If all goes well, Perseverance will be the fifth Mars rover mission managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and also the fifth successful Mars rover landing overall (unless China's lands first).
The mission has four science goals on Mars. This part of the mission will serve to determine whether life has ever existed on the Red Planet. And as if the pandemic wasn't enough of a challenge, in the minutes before launch, a magnitude-4.2 natural disaster rattled through NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where the rover mission is managed.
They had to make it really lightweight because mars is only one percent of the atmosphere that have here on earth.
After it has landed, the rover will drill the rock, and obtain and store some promising rock core samples that could be transferred to a future mission that could then transport the samples for analysis on Earth.
Perseverance will carry out an experiment to convert elements of the carbon dioxide-rich Martian atmosphere into propellant for future rockets launching off the planet's surface, or to produce breathable oxygen for future astronauts.
The mission is the culmination of years of work that involved thousands of people and NASA's many teams. The rover's microphones will track and record the sounds of Mars during its descent. That's why the rover has been equipped with nuclear energy. It will hunt for signs of ancient life with help from WATSON, which is short for Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering.