NASA’s biggest and boldest rover attempts a momentous landing on February 18. Here’s how to watch—and why you should.
Today, Perseverance, NASA’s most ambitious self-driving rover, will attempt the agency’s most challenging Mars landing. Perseverance is carrying a suite of science experiments that will search for signs of life, launch a drone helicopter, and record the planet’s audio for the first time. But conducting those experiments relies solely on whether “Percy” can stick the landing.
This mission primarily centers around searching for ancient traces of life. Once in the crater, Perseverance will use tools like the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry to examine soil textures for patterns indicating past microbial activity. The self-driving rover is equipped with a first-ever microphone, plus 23 cameras, including the SuperCam, a laser and camera setup that will analyze the chemical makeup of martian dust and minerals, potentially revealing traces of long-ago life.
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