The search for signs of ancient life on Mars. The first helicopter fly on another planet. The first recordings of sound on the red planet.
NASA’s most sophisticated rover to date has a packed agenda for the next few years once it lands on the surface of Mars today.If all goes well — and there is a chance it will not — Perseverance will land around 3:55 p.m. ET.
The rover has been traveling through space since launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at the end of July. When it reaches Mars, Perseverance will have traveled 292.5 million miles on its journey from Earth.
Perseverance is NASA’s first mission that will search for signs of ancient life on another planet to help answer the big question: Was life ever present on Mars?
The rover will explore Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake that existed 3.9 billion years ago, and search for microfossils in the rocks and soil there.
Along for the ride with Perseverance is an experiment to fly a helicopter, called Ingenuity, on another planet for the first time.
Unfortunately, we can’t watch the SUV-size rover land on the surface of Mars — we’re just not there yet, technologically speaking.
But NASA is inviting the world to tune in to its countdown and landing commentary, which will stream live beginning on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Tune in via NASA’s public TV channel, website, app, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion or THETA.TV.
The agency will broadcast live from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where viewers can watch the rover’s team as they share important milestones from landing.
They will also share animations of the landing.
The agency will also offer a Spanish language show for the landing.
During the landing coverage, NASA’s mission control team will be able to confirm whether the rover safely landed on the surface of Mars.