Perseverance Rover Headed for a Mars Landing February 18!

As reported by Jonathan Amos, BBC science correspondent, Perseverance is heading for a touchdown on Thursday in a crater named Jezero just north of the planet's equator.  Its mission objectives will be to search for signs of past life and to collect and prepare rock samples for return to Earth in the 2030s. A signal from the rover to say its protective capsule has engaged Mars' atmosphere should arrive on Earth at about 20:48 GMT on Thursday (3:48 p.m. EST). If all goes well, confirmation that it has safely landed will arrive seven minutes later.  Perseverance carries more than 20 cameras and two microphones. Two of the cameras are mounted on a mini-helicopter, Ingenuity, which will fly in Mars' rarefied atmosphere.

This will be the first Nasa Mars mission directly looking for signs of life since the Viking landers in the 1970s. It will look in the sediments of a once great lake in Jezero. A smaller rover will be launched in 2026 to pick up the samples left behind by Perseverance. Perseverance will also carry an experiment to see if it's possible to make breathable oxygen from the planet's predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere. Photos courtesy of NASA/JPL-CALTECH, NASA, and NASA/MSSS/JHUAPL/ESA/FU BERLIN/JUSTIN COWART, via