NASA sends Perseverance Rover to Mars – with a little helicopter on it!

The Mars 2020 mission with its Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The Mars 2020 mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key Astrobiology questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. The Perseverance rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a “cache” on the surface of Mars. A future mission could potentially return these samples¬† to Earth.¬† That would help scientists study the samples in laboratories with special room-sized equipment that would be too large to take to Mars. The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere, identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.

Source: Overview – NASA Mars

Quick Facts

  • Mission Name: Mars 2020
  • Rover Name: Perseverance
  • Main Job: The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
  • Launched: July 30, 2020 4:50 a.m. PDT / 7:50 a.m. EDT
  • Launch Location: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
  • Landing: Feb. 18, 2021
  • Landing Site: Jezero Crater, Mars
  • Mission Duration: At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)
  • Tech Demo: The Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration, hitching a ride on the Perseverance rover.
  • Fact Sheet
  • Launch Press Kit