Perseverance lands on Mars! The rover touched down on Mars on the 18th of February 2021, after 7 long months of space travel. Starting it’s journey at 7:50 a.m. on the 30th of July 2020. 

This was no easy feat, taking almost a decade to plan and build with a team of thousands of engineers, scientists and specialists from NASA. 

Perseverance (nicknamed Percy), the SUV-sized Mars rover, was designed to explore the Jezero crater, as part of NASA’s 2020 Mars mission. 

Perseverance Lands on Mars!
Perseverance Lands on Mars!

The Jezero crater is located at 18.38°N 77.58°E in the Syrtis Major quadrangle on Mars. This crater’s diameter measures approximately 49.0 km (30.4 miles). It is theorized that it was once flooded with water, perseverance sent to investigate this and the ancient Martian lake that is thought to have been there. This crater contains a fan-delta deposit rich in a variety of different types of clay. 

Perseverance, the car-sized rover, powered by plutonium landed on Mars near the hypothesized lake, which is meant to have existed 3.5 billion years ago. This sight is the trickiest place NASA has tried to get a rover to. It is a 5 by 4 mile strip surrounded by various different cliffs, pits and rocks, one of the reasons it took NASA so long to plan and launch.

One of the major reasons NASA chose the Jezero crater as the landing site for Perseverance was because of the ancient lake, providing a range of possible evidence to support the life on other planets theory. 

Perseverance lands on Mars!
Perseverance Lands in the Jezero Crater

Perseverance was built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a federally funded research and development centre. Not only that but it is also the NASA field centre in La Cañada Flintridge. It was founded on the 30th of October 1936, 22 years before NASA was created. 

It was created by multiple students from the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, at the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT). Lead by Dr. Theodore von Kármán they began experimenting with liquid-propellant rocket engines, just outside of Pasadena California. 

After their successful rocket experiments, the army decided to help them with the experiments, acquiring land in Arroyo Seco as testing pits and a temporary workshop for the early stages of Jet Propulsion Centre. 

During World War II, the GALCIT rocket research project had developed solid and liquid-propellant units to assist planes when taking off, when heavily loaded. After that they began to work on high-altitude rockets. 

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Both Perseverance and Perseverance landing in such a small, rough area are step-ups from NASA’s previous rovers. From Opportunity to Curiosity, Perseverance has demonstrated the improvements NASA has made to their technology and ability to land a rover. 

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