It took approximately seven months for NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, to make its way to the red planet. Millions of people watched the rover take off last year from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 30th and, after a smooth journey, it landed on Mars. Its mission? To search for evidence of ancient life on the planet! That’s why the team at NASA chose to have Perseverance land on the Jezero Crater, a very specific part of the planet. This crater is approximately the size of Lake Tahoe and scientists believe that around 3.5 billion years ago, a river flowed into it, which would have left evidence of microbial life.
Oooh … ahhh, very exciting, we know! Now, it’s up to Perseverance, the jeep-sized rover, and Ingenuity, its helicopter buddy (the first helicopter to attempt remote flight on Mars!), to collect rocks and other sediment samples over the next Mars year (that’s approximately two Earth years). It’s an exciting time for space exploration and we can’t wait to see what Perseverance and Ingenuity reveal about Mars.
In the meantime, if you were one of the 10.9 million people who sent your name to NASA prior to Perseverance’s journey to Mars, we’re happy to report that your name made it there! The many, many names were etched onto one of the three silicon chips that were attached to a plate on Perseverance that reads, “Explore as one” in morse code. Cool, right?
Check out this fun video about Perseverance and its journey to Mars: