NASA's Perseverance Rover is only 100 days away from its landing on Mars and creating history. In its latest update, the US space agency revealed that the latest Mars crater is only 166 million miles or 268 million kilometers away from its destination
NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission was launched on July 30, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida with a task to search for ancient life on the Red Planet. In addition to finding fossilised evidence of alien life on the planet, it must collect soil and rock samples for a possible return to Earth.
The landing of the rover will take place on Feb. 18, 2021, at 12:43 p.m. PST (3:43 p.m. EST) which would be confirmed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California about 11 1/2 minutes later.
"While we call the six-and-a-half-month trip from Earth to Mars 'cruise,' I assure you there is not much croquet going on at the lido deck," said Project Manager John McNamee of JPL in a statement. "Between checking out the spacecraft, and planning and simulating our landing and surface operations, the entire team are on the clock, working toward our exploration of Jezero Crater."
The Mars rover by NASA's Mars Exploration Program is the third of three space missions sent to the Red Planet by the space agency. Landing close to the crater, which is believed to have existed on the planet for billions of years, will rummage for signs of alien life on the Martian surface and open new avenues for human exploration on the planet. Astrobiology and the search for microbial life remain the mission's key objective. As per NASA, the rover will also illustrate the planet's geology and past climate.
Recently, Perseverance made some milestone developments in its journey. On Monday, the mission team confirmed that the propulsion subsystem of the descent stage responsible for lowering the rover is in "good working order." On Tuesday, they checked the rover's PIXL and SHERLOC instruments and on Wednesday, The Lander Vision System was examined.
The team will carry out another important mission starting from Monday, Nov. 16 whereby the team will perform a five-day simulation of surface operations. On Dec. 18, the team plans to perform a trajectory correction maneuver, using the cruise stage's eight thrusters to refine the spacecraft's path toward Mars.