NASA Perseverance Rover’s biggest moments in 2021 [Video]

NASA Perseverance Rover artistic rendering

NASA’s Perseverance rover, shown in this artistic rendering, will land at Mars’ Jezero Crater in February 2021 and will begin collecting soil samples shortly thereafter. Scientists are now concerned that acidic liquids, sometime on Mars, may have destroyed the evidence for life contained in the clay. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

A new video looks back at the six-wheeled scientist’s first 10 months on the red planet and all that it has achieved so far.

NASA‘s Perseverance rover has been busy since its shocking landing in March‘Jezero Crater last February.

In the 10 months that have passed since then, the car-sized rover has driven 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers), set a record for the longest rover ride on a Mars day, taken more than 100,000 photos and collected six samples of Mars stones and atmosphere that could eventually be brought to Earth for further study.

And then there’s NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, which took a trip to the red planet with persistence: Proving that powered, controlled flight is possible in Mars’ thin atmosphere, it has 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotor jets registered 18 flights and counters.

What has NASA’s Perseverance rover accomplished since it landed on the surface of Mars in February 2021? Surface Operations Mission Manager Jessica Samuels reflects on a year filled with groundbreaking discoveries at Jezero Crater and counts up the rover’s achievements. Credit: NASA /JPL-Caltech / MSSS, NASA / JPL-Caltech

In a new video, Jessica Samuels – Perseverance’s surface operations mission manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California – looks back on a year full of groundbreaking discoveries. She also explains the next phase of Perseverance’s mission: to explore the delta that formed in the Jezero crater billions of years ago from sediment that an ancient river led into the lake that once existed in the crater.

“It feels great to be a part of creating history and enabling the start of a Mars Sample Return campaign,” Samuels said. “What motivates us as engineers and scientists to explore another planet is the opportunity to learn more.”

More about the mission

A key goal of Perseverance’s mission to Mars is astrobiology, including the search for evidence of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the red planet and be the first mission to collect and cache Mars rocks and regolith (broken rocks and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare humans for their exploration of the red planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages the operation of the Perseverance rover.

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