After a seven-month-long journey, NASA’s Perseverance Rover successfully touched down on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021. Mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California celebrate landing NASA’s fifth — and most ambitious — rover on Mars.
The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).
Packed with groundbreaking technology, the Mars 2020 mission launched July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Perseverance rover mission marks an ambitious first step in the effort to collect Mars samples and return them to Earth.
Among the scientists who are part of this historic mission, Indian-American Dr Swati Mohan spearheaded the development of attitude control and the landing system for the rover.
“Touchdown confirmed! Perseverance is safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the signs of past life,” exclaimed NASA engineer Dr Swati Mohan. The Perseverance Rover was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on July 30, 2020 — made its landing on an ancient river delta in a lake that once filled Jezero Crater.
The Perseverance rover carried seven instruments to conduct an “unprecedented science and test new technology on the Red Planet,” according to NASA. As it spends one Mars year which is equal to two years on Earth, the rover will search for signs of ancient microbial life, which will advance NASA’s mission to explore the history of habitability in Mars.