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Mars 2020/Perseverance

NASA and other space agencies (such as ESA) have been exploring Mars and gathering data for few decades now. According to this data Mars was once very different from the cold, dry planet it is today. Landers and orbiters have gathered evidence pointing to wet conditions billions of years ago. Scientist believe that these environmental conditions have lasted long enough to potentially support the development of microbial life.

NASA’s “Mars 2020/Perseverance” rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The best method to analyse Martian rock samples would be to bring it back to earth and analyse them here on Earth, hence this mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future.

It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars. Such as the autopilot system called Terrain Relative Navigation which will avoid potentially hazardous terrain.

Perseverance landed on Mars/Jezero Crater’s ancient lake-delta system containing carbonates and minerals. Scientist believe that this lake-delta will preserve fossilized signs of ancient life.

Perseverance carried seven instruments to Planet Mars.

  • Mastcam-Z, an advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability with the ability to zoom. The instrument also will determine mineralogy of the Martian surface and assist with rover operations.
  • SuperCam, an instrument that can provide imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy at a distance.
  • Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and high-resolution imager to map the fine-scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will provide capabilities that permit more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before.
  • Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), a spectrometer that will provide fine-scale imaging and uses an ultraviolet (UV) laser to map mineralogy and organic compounds. SHERLOC will be the first UV Raman spectrometer to fly to the surface of Mars and will provide complementary measurements with other instruments in the payload. SHERLOC includes a high-resolution color camera for microscopic imaging of Mars’ surface.
  • The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), a technology demonstration that will produce oxygen from Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide. If successful, MOXIE’s technology could be used by future astronauts on Mars to burn rocket fuel for returning to Earth.
  • Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), a set of sensors that will provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity, and dust size and shape.
  • The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX), a ground-penetrating radar that will provide centimetre-scale resolution of the geologic structure of the subsurface.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Key Objectives of the Perseverance mission.

  • Explore a geologically diverse landing site
  • Assess ancient habitability
  • Seek signs of ancient life, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time
  • Gather rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth by a future NASA mission
  • Demonstrate technology for future robotic and human exploration

Mission Timeline

  • Launch in July-August 2020 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
  • Launching on a ULA Atlas 541 procured under NASA’s Launch Services Program
  • Land on Mars on February 18, 2021 at the site of an ancient river delta in a lake that once filled Jezero Crater
  • Spend at least one Mars year (two Earth years) exploring the landing site region

A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

First Image captured by Perseverance after landing
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Rover Size and Dimensions

Perseverance Rover is about 10 feet long (not including the arm), 9 feet wide, and 7 feet tall (about 3 meters long, 2.7 meters wide, and 2.2 meters tall).


Perseverance carried with it; a 2 kg helicopter named “Ingenuity’ which will become the first aircraft to attempt powered flight on another planet. This solar powered drone will take arial photographs of the Jezero Crater.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's official YouTube channel : Perseverance Landing

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2021 07:16  

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