PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — With only about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) left to go in its 293-million-mile (471-million-kilometer) journey, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is nearing its new planetary home. The spacecraft has begun its approach to the Red Planet and in 43 days, on Feb. 18, 2021, Perseverance will blaze through Mars’ atmosphere at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph), touching down gently on the surface about seven minutes later.
PARIS (CNES PR) — On Thursday 30 July, the Mars 2020 mission successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida atop an Atlas V launcher. For the Perseverance rover carrying the French-U.S. SuperCam instrument, the long voyage to the red planet has begun. The mission is scheduled to land on Mars on 18 February 2021.
Video Caption: This video shows Jezero crater, the landing site of the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on the Red Planet, based on images from ESA’s Mars Express mission. The planned landing area is marked with an orange ellipse.
Launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 30 July 2020 on board an Atlas V rocket, the Perseverance rover will land on 18 February 2021 in Jezero crater.
An impact crater with a diameter of about 45 km, Jezero is located at the rim of the giant Isidis impact basin. Morphological evidence suggests that the crater once hosted a lake, some 3.5 billion years ago.
Jezero possesses an inlet- and an outlet channel. The inlet channel discharges into a fan-delta deposit, containing water-rich minerals such as smectite clays. Scientists believe that the lake was relatively long lived because the delta may have required 1 to 10 million years to reach its thickness and size.
Other studies conclude that the lake did not experience periods of important water-level fluctuations and that it was formed by a continuous surface runoff. This makes Jezero crater to a prime target for the search for potential signs of microbial life, because organic molecules are very well preserved in river deltas and lake sediments.
A recent study of the ancient lakeshores, diverse minerals and violent volcanism of Jezero crater based on data from ESA’s Mars Express mission is available here: https://bit.ly/MarsExpressHelpsUncove…
The animation was created using an image mosaic made from four single orbit observations obtained by the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on Mars Express between 2004 and 2008.
The mosaic combines data from the HRSC nadir and colour channels; the nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface.
The mosaic image was then combined with topography information from the stereo channels of HRSC to generate a three-dimensional landscape, which was then recorded from different perspectives, as with a movie camera, to render the flight shown in the video.
Copyright: Animation: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO Music: Björn Schreiner Soundtrack logo: Alicia Neeseman
“With safe mode exit, the team is getting down to the business of interplanetary cruise,” said Mars 2020 deputy project manager Matt Wallace of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Next stop, Jezero Crater.”
Managed by JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is part of a larger program that includes missions to the Moon as a way to prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 through NASA’s Artemis program.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (USGS PR) — When you’re planning to explore someplace new, it’s always a good idea to bring a map so you can avoid dangerous terrain. This is true whether you’re heading out for a hike on Earth or you’re landing a rover on Mars.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — This image of Jezero Crater, the landing site for the Mars Perseverance Rover, was taken by instruments on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which regularly takes images of potential landing sites for future missions. NASA chose Jezero crater as the landing site for the Perseverance rover because scientists believe the area was once flooded with water and was home to an ancient river delta.
Jezero crater tells a story of the on-again, off-again nature of the wet past of Mars. More than 3.5 billion years ago, river channels spilled over the crater wall and created a lake. Scientists see evidence that water carried clay minerals from the surrounding area into the crater lake. Conceivably, microbial life could have lived in Jezero during one or more of these wet times. If so, signs of their remains might be found in lakebed or shoreline sediments.
An United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V roared off a launch pad in Florida on Thursday, sending the Mars Perseverance rover to a landing on the Red Planet next February.
Atlas V lifted off on schedule at 7:50 EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California received a signal from the spacecraft about 1 hour 25 minutes after launch.
Perseverance will explore Jezero crater and collect samples for later retrieval and return to Earth by a joint U.S.-European mission planned for later this decade.
Perseverance carries a small helicopter, Ingenuity, that will become the first vehicle to fly on another world. The rover also includes an experiment that will produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere.
It was the third and final mission to Mars sent during this launch window. China launched an orbiter, lander and rover and the United Arab Emirates launched an orbiter earlier in July.