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Time For “Perseverance”

Will NASA’s newest rover make it to Mars?

It’s traveled nearly 300 million miles since launching in July, but its most challenging task lies ahead: surviving the “seven minutes of terror.”

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Why “Perseverance”?

  • Named after a 7th grader’s essay submission for the “Name the Rover” competition; NASA said the name “captured the spirit of exploration.”
  • The most advanced rover ever made – built with a navigation system, detailed maps, 19 cameras, and a microphone (so we can hear what Mars sounds like).
  • About the size of a small car and weighs over 2,000 pounds.
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“Seven Minutes Of Terror”

  • In just 7 minutes, the rover will descend towards Mars & go from 12,000 mph to 2 mph in order to softly land… completely autonomously.
  • Why the terror? The 11-minute communication delay from Mars to Earth means that when NASA’s Mission Control Center is alerted of the rover’s entry into Mars’ atmosphere, the descent & landing – or crash – will already have happened.
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Why It Matters

  • Over at least two Earth years, Perseverance will explore an ancient river delta, paving the way for human exploration & looking for signs of past ancient life.
  • It also begins a larger NASA mission to collect rocks & sediment on Mars & return them to Earth for study.
  • Since the 1960s, only about 50% of Mars surface missions have succeeded, leaving much of it unexplored.
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“It’s just a matter of executing… Now, we just have to trust in our team and the hard work that we’ve put in until now, to see us through to the finish line.”

Swati Mohan, who will serve as the mission commentator during the landing event. She is one of thousands of staff members who have contributed to this project over the last decade.
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Perseverance is set to land around 3:55 est on Mars. We have a list of how to watch the event on our source page.

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