NASA’s most advanced rover to date, the Perseverance rover is nearing the end of its seven-month journey through space and is finally preparing to land on Mars.
Perseverance is expected to land later this month on February 18 and will represent a milestone moment for the organisation, as it will be the first time NASA performs an autonomous guided landing on Mars.
Once Perseverance finally makes it into the orbit of Mars it will then begin its descent to the planet’s surface, making it the latest rover on the Martian surface after the Curiosity rover. NASA is targetting the Jezero Crater as the landing site for the rover. While preserving will have a companion on the martian surface in the form of Curiosity rover, their missions will be quite different.
Curiosity, which has been on the Martian surface for around eight years now was sent to Mars to investigate when and why it lost its water and became the frigid desert landscape we know today. Perseverance on the other hand will focus its efforts on trying to locate evidence of past life.
According to a statement by NASA, “Jezero Crater is the perfect place to search for signs of ancient microbial life. Billions of years ago, the now-bone-dry 28-mile-wide (45-kilometer-wide) basin was home to an actively-forming river delta and lake filled with water.”
How to watch the landing
Seeing as this is quite a historic moment for NASA, the organisation will be airing the landing for everyone to watch. Countdown to the live coverage will begin February 16 at around 02:00 am GMT+2 and will include a preview of landing day via the NASA TV Public Channel.
On February 18 at 21:15 pm GMT+2 viewers will be able to watch a live broadcast of the landing via NASA’s public TV channel website, YouTube, and Twitter. NASA will also provide a 360-degree livestream of the Mars landing from inside mission control, including landing commentary, will be available at the JPL’s main YouTube channel.
For additional information on the broadcast schedule, along with links to all of NASA’s social and video accounts click here.
Take a look at what you can expect during the livestream with this animated landing sequence made by NASA.