After a 203-day journey, NASA’s car-sized Perseverance rover successfully landed in Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18, 2021. Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST, 8:55 p.m. GMT).
The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission will address high-priority science goals for Mars exploration.
Equipped with seven primary science instruments, the most cameras ever sent to Mars, and its exquisitely complex sample caching system, the rover will scour the Jezero region for fossilized remains of ancient Martian life, taking samples along the way.
“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally — when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.
“The Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration.”
“The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.”
Perseverance’s first image (colorized) from Jezero Crater, Mars. Image credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Perseverance is the most sophisticated robotic geologist ever made, but verifying that microscopic life once existed carries an enormous burden of proof,” said Dr. Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.
“While we’ll learn a lot with the great instruments we have aboard the rover, it may very well require the far more capable laboratories and instruments back here on Earth to tell us whether our samples carry evidence that Mars once harbored life.”
“Because of today’s exciting events, the first pristine samples from carefully documented locations on another planet are another step closer to being returned to Earth,” said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA.
“Perseverance is the first step in bringing back rock and regolith from Mars. We don’t know what these pristine samples from Mars will tell us. But what they could tell us is monumental — including that life might have once existed beyond Earth.”
Perseverance’s second image (colorized) from Jezero Crater, Mars. Image credit: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Landing on Mars is always an incredibly difficult task and we are proud to continue building on our past success,” said Dr. Michael Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“But, while Perseverance advances that success, this rover is also blazing its own path and daring new challenges in the surface mission.”
“We built the rover not just to land but to find and collect the best scientific samples for return to Earth, and its incredibly complex sampling system and autonomy not only enable that mission, they set the stage for future robotic and crewed missions.”
“Perseverance is more than a rover, and more than this amazing collection of men and women that built it and got us here,” said Perseverance project manager Dr. John McNamee, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“It is even more than the 10.9 million people who signed up to be part of our mission. This mission is about what humans can achieve when they persevere. We made it this far. Now, watch us go.”
Perseverance will undergo several weeks of testing before it begins its two-year science investigation of Jezero Crater.
This article is based on text provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.