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JPL’s Rover ‘Perseverance’ To Land On Mars Today




A full scale model of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is displayed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on February 16, 2021 in Pasadena, California.
A full scale model of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is displayed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on February 16, 2021 in Pasadena, California.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

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NASA’s most sophisticated rover yet is set to land on Mars at 12:55pm PST this afternoon, beginning a mission that will include a search for life and an exploration of the planet’s geology. 

The rover is one of many spacecrafts that have been sent to explore Mars since the 1960s. Although the potential for life on Mars is not unique to the red planet—water has been identified on several planetary moons in our solar system— Mars’ close vicinity to Earth means that it is relatively accessible to us with contemporary technology. The planet’s surface is also far less hostile to exploration than, say, Venus’, which would melt any spacecraft that attempted to land on its world. Perseverance’s mission will center on the exploration of a delta in the Jezero Crater, where an ancient river once flowed and may contain signs of past life. But Perserverance’s mission will not be the last. The rover is primarily designed to set promising samples aside for future missions to return to Earth later this decade.

Today on AirTalk, we’re learning more about the Perseverance mission to Mars. Questions? Comment below or give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guest:

Tariq Malik, astronomy journalist and editor-in-chief of Space.com; he tweets @tariqjmailk