The USA Mission was launched by NASA on July 30th 2020 on the Atlas V rocket. From the Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex.
After a nearly 8 month journey, the Perseverance rover will land on Mars February 18, 2021 in Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient river delta. From the sediment deposits packed with carbonate materials and clay, this site has a high potential for finding preserved evidence of past microbial life.
The rover will gather rock and soil samples that will be stored on board and could be returned to earth at a later time as well as demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration.
One of our favorite tech features on Perserverance is the use of artificial intelligence. The AI based terrain-relative navigation system will enable the rover to quickly and autonomously comprehend its location over the Martian surface and modify its trajectory during descent. This technology will be able to provide invaluable assistance for both robotic and crewed missions landing on the Moon and is a must for future robotic and crewed exploration of Mars.
Perseverance also carries a technology demonstration called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment). This instrument will produce oxygen from Mars’ carbon dioxide atmosphere, demonstrating a way that future explorers might produce oxygen for rocket propellant as well as for breathing. Just think about it - the ability to produce breathable oxygen on Mars. This is a HUGE breakthrough!
And if that wasn’t enough, Perseverance will also deploy Ingenuity, a small helicopter drone. Weighing in at about 4 pounds and loaded with innovation, from its carbon-fiber counter-rotating rotors that spin 8 times faster than that of a standard helicopter to solar cells, battery, avionics, sensors, telecommunications, and other designs and algorithms. Its main task is to carry out the first powered flight from the surface of another planet
The planned overall mission will be carried out over 2 earth years - But our favorite part is we get to be there too! Perseverance is equipped with multiple cameras, including video, as well as microphones, that will hear and record the landing. NASA expects to have the sound, images and video back on Earth within a few weeks of the landing - And we can’t wait for our first Martian movie night filled with the real sights and sounds directly from the red planet.
Next up - the United Arab Emirates makes history as they plan to gather the most information about the atmosphere of Mars of that we have ever had.