The excitement is building up as NASA’s Perseverance rover prepares to touch down on Mars on Thursday after a seven-month journey. As part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, the car-size Perseverance rover will hunt for signs of ancient life, collect and cache samples for future return to Earth and help demonstrate a variety of new exploration technologies. When it finally reaches Mars, Perseverance will have traveled 292.5 million miles on its journey from Earth. Mark your calendars as the touchdown is scheduled for approximately 3:55 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 18. (2:25 am on February 19 in India).Also Read - NASA is Offering Rs 3.6 Crore to Anyone Who Can Find Out How to Feed Astronauts in Space!

”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. If the rover lands successfully, it will become the first artificial object to land on the surface since the Mars Insight lander in 2018 and the first rover since Curiosity touched down in 2012.

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that landing on Mars is never easy. But as NASA’s fifth Mars rover, Perseverance has an extraordinary engineering pedigree and mission team. We are excited to invite the entire world to share this exciting event with us!” said NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Marc Etkind. Perseverance is expected to begin transmitting photos of its new surroundings immediately after landing.

NASA set to broadcast landing of Perseverance Rover live:

Live coverage and landing commentary from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California will begin at 2:15 p.m. on the NASA TV Public Channel and the agency’s website, as well as the NASA AppYouTubeTwitterFacebookLinkedInTwitchDaily Motion, and THETA.TV.

During the landing coverage, NASA’s mission control team will be able to confirm if the rover safely landed on the surface of Mars.  On Thursday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m., NASA will also air “Juntos perseveramos,” a show that will give viewers an overview of the mission to Mars and highlight the role Hispanic NASA professionals have had in its success. The agency also has fun ways to participate in the countdown excitement, like photo booths and activities for kids and students.

About Perseverance

NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance, a robotic astrobiology lab packed inside a space capsule, was launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 30. It main job is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for possible return to Earth.

Perseverance isn’t traveling to Mars by itself. It is also carrying a technology experiment – the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. If successful, Perseverance will be NASA’s ninth landing on Mars.

(Pictures and information from NASA website)