It’s official! The countdown to Mars has commenced.
This morning at 7:50 a.m. EST, NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover, Perseverance, successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Atlas V 541 rocket roared through the early morning blue skies with Perseverance and the Ingenuity helicopter on board.
According to NASA, Perseverance’s main job will be to “seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples [from Mars] for possible return to Earth.” The mission is expected to land on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021 at Jezero Crater.
Jezero Crater is described as telling the “on-again, off-again nature of the wet past of Mars.” The crater is said to be the home of an ancient lake created from the overspill of a river channel. Scientists are hoping to find microbial life in the crater’s once flowing lakebed.
To stay updated on Perseverance, visit mars.nasa.gov. We will also be tracking Perseverance’s success on our Digital Newsletter, stay up-to-date, and follow below.