Taken from Nasa Press Kit
NASA’s next mission to Mars — the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission — is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station no earlier than July 20, 2020. It will land in Jezero Crater on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021. Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars, with a name that embodies NASA’s passion for taking on and overcoming challenges. It will search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet’s geology and climate, collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for possible return to Earth, and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.
As of June 24, the launch is targeted for no earlier than July 22,
2020. Additional updates can be found on the mission’s launch page.
also ferry a separate technology experiment to the surface of Mars —
a helicopter named Ingenuity, the first aircraft to fly in a
controlled way on another planet.
rover, built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern
California, is loaded with scientific instruments, advanced
computational capabilities for landing and other new systems. With a
chassis about 10 feet (3 meters) long, Perseverance is also the
largest, heaviest robotic Mars rover NASA has built. What drives its
ambitious mission and what will it do at the Red Planet?
spacecraft to the launch pad this summer has required an extended
effort. Concept studies and early technology work started a decade
ago — years before the project was formally announced in December
2012. Landing on another planet, searching for signs of ancient life,
collecting samples and proving new technologies will also be tough.
These challenges epitomize why NASA chose the name Perseverance from
among the 28,000 essays submitted during the “Name the Rover”
contest. The months leading up to the launch in particular have
required creative problem solving and teamwork during the coronavirus
Jezero Crater on
Mars is a 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) crater on the western edge
of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian
equator. The crater was a possible oasis in its distant past.
Between 3 billion
and 4 billion years ago, a river there flowed into a body of water
the size of Lake Tahoe, depositing sediments packed with carbonite
minerals and clay. The Perseverance science team believes this
ancient river delta could have collected and preserved organic
molecules and other potential signs of microbial life.