NASA Perseverance Rover Successfully Lands on Mars: Watch It Here

NASA's Perseverance Rover is currently executing its landing on the surface of Mars, and a live stream of the big moment gives everyone a chance to watch. According to USA Today, the rover has traveled almost 300 million miles after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in July. The six-wheeled robotic explorer was designed to search for signs of life on the Red Planet, so many space experts and enthusiasts are eager to see what Perseverance finds. The live video was made possible by NASA.

The Perseverance Rover is the center-piece of a $2.4 billion NASA mission that hopes to uncover evidence of life on Mars, past or present. The rover will specifically be searching Jezero Crater, a location believed to have been the home of a deep lake fed by rivers of water. "Perseverance is our robotic astrobiologist, and it will be the first rover NASA has sent to Mars with the explicit goal of searching for signs of ancient life," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, in a previous statement.

Regarding the landing, deputy project manager Matt Wallace said, "It all has to happen autonomously. Perseverance really has to fight her way down to the surface on her own. It's something like a controlled disassembly of the spacecraft." Wallace also commented on the notion that NASA has always only had projections for how the landing would go, and never with certainty what would happen. "We've never really come up with a good way of calculating the probability of success," he said, per the NY Times.

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Part of Perseverance's mission is to collect rocks and dirt samples, which will be retrieved up by a future mission to Mars and eventually brought back to Earth to be studied. However, that is not scheduled to happen until 2026, when two spacecraft are set to launch for the Red Planet. One of the crafts will contain a rover that will collect the samples from Perseverance, and the other will bring the samples back. Notably, Perseverance will not return as part of this mission, as it has always been the plan for the rover to remain on Mars.