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After '7 minutes of terror,' NASA's Perseverance rover will begin an 'epic journey' on Mars next month

January 27, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 21.9%. 2 min read.

In 22 days, NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will land on Mars in Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient life that may have been on the red planet in the past.

(CNN)In 22 days, NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will land on Mars in Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient life that may have been on the red planet in the past.

"Don't let anybody tell you different -- landing on Mars is hard to do," said John McNamee, project manager for the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at JPL, in a statement.

The one-way light time it takes for radio signals to travel from Earth to Mars is about 10. 5 minutes, which means the seven minutes it takes for the spacecraft to land on Mars will occur without any help or intervention from NASA teams on Earth.

This is the "seven minutes of terror. " The ground teams tell the spacecraft when to begin EDL (entry, descent and landing) and the spacecraft takes over from there.

The spacecraft hits the top of the Martian atmosphere moving at 12,000 miles per hour and has to slow down to zero miles per hour seven minutes later when the rover softly lands on the surface.

Perseverance is targeting a 28-mile-wide ancient lake bed and river delta, the most challenging site yet for a NASA spacecraft landing on Mars.

Once the rover has landed, Perseverance's two-year mission will begin, and it will go through a "checkout" period to make sure it's ready.

After those flights, Perseverance will begin searching for evidence of ancient life, study Mars' climate and geology and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth via planned future missions.

"Perseverance's sophisticated science instruments will not only help in the hunt for fossilized microbial life, but also expand our knowledge of Martian geology and its past, present, and future," said Ken Farley, project scientist for Mars 2020, in a statement.

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