The Mars sample collection mission by NASA is set to arrive at the Red Planet. The space agency said that its Perseverance rover will land on the planet on February 18. Perseverance was launched in July 2020. It nears touchdown after traveling 300 million miles from Earth in over seven months. It is the first mission by NASA to collect Mars samples. The rover will collect broken rock and dust. NASA said that the rover will land at Jezero Crater. Scientists believe that the crater was once flooded with water. Past studies indicated that life may have developed in the crater. There is a high probability that clays contain a rich fan-delta deposit.
NASA said that Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover it has launched ever. The Jezero crater is 28 miles wide. It is full of hazards. The site is said to be a dangerous place to make a soft landing. The rover’s objective is to characterize the Red Planet’s geology and its past climate. The data collected will pave the way for human exploration. NASA said that the lander vision system will be activated to identify where the rover can make a safe landing. The system will allow the rover to determine its position on the surface. The agency expects a soft landing as experts had conducted extensive testing of the rover’s landing both in the laboratory and in the field with an ambiance similar to the crater.
NASA said that a team will be monitoring everything when the rover lands. The team will check the camera’s power and ensure that data is flowing as planned. Experts will keep a close watch on the health of the rover’s system. Meanwhile, NASA said that the rover’s entry into the Martian atmosphere, its descent, and landing will be telecast live. The agency said that the live coverage and landing commentary will be available on the NASA TV Public Channel and its official website. People can also watch it live on the NASA App, NASA’s YouTube channel, and other social media networks.