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Countdown For Mars Landing

After six months, more than 300 million miles, and seven precarious minutes.

On February 18, NASA begins an epic and unparalleled exploration of Mars with its newest rover’s landing. As the first rover to land on the red planet since 2012, the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover is the agency’s most ambitious rover yet. The SUV-sized rover will explore Mars in search of signs of ancient life, collect samples of Martian rocks and sediment for a future return to Earth, study the planet’s geology and climate, and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon. Throughout all of this, it will also collect the first sounds from the Red Planet, allowing us to hear what Mars sounds like for the first time!

Perseverance is landing in the most challenging Martian terrain ever targeted: an area known as Jezero Crater. Scientists want to explore Jezero Crater because it once had the right environment for ancient life to arise and be preserved. However, Jezero is also a dangerous area to land in with its cliffs, dunes, and boulder fields. 

NASA team members will be available for virtual one-on-one interviews on Wednesday, February 17, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm EST and Thursday, February 18, starting at 6:00 am to 1:00 pm EST. The capsule carrying Perseverance enters Mars’s atmosphere at 3:48 pm EST and lands at 3:55 pm EST on Thursday, February 18.