Florida, July 30: The Perseverance rover, as part of the NASA Mars 2020 mission, was launched successfully on Thursday. The ambitious space mission is intended to dig more information on the potential habitability of Mars, located next to planet Earth. Here are 10 points to know about the space exploration project which has kept experts across the world on the edge.

  1. The Perseverance rover, fitted with a 1.8 kg miniature helicopter, took off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 5:20 pm (Indian Standard Time).
  2. The launch was critical as Earth and Mars are at their closest distance at this point. The journey between the two planets is reduced to less than eight months.
  3. If the Perseverance rover launch would had been unsuccessful, then NASA would had to wait for another 26 months for the Earth and Mars to reduce the distance between them.
  4. The Mission duration is stated to be 1 Mars year, which is equivalent to 687 days on the Earth.
  5. The landing of Perseverance Rover is targeted at the Jezero Crater, Mars on February 21, 2021.
  6. The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
  7. Jezero Crater on Mars is a 28-mile-wide (45-kilometers wide) crater on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator. The crater was a possible oasis in its distant past.
  8. Perseverance will also be collecting important data about Mars’ geology and climate.
  9. Perseverance carries instruments and technology that will pave the way for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.
  10. The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission carries more cameras than any interplanetary mission in history. The Perseverance rover itself has 19 cameras that will deliver images of the landscape in breathtaking detail.

The verification of ancient life on Mars carries an enormous burden of proof. Perseverance is the first rover to bring a sample caching system to Mars that will package promising samples for return to Earth by a future mission. Based on the outcome of this mission, a joint Mission would be undertaken by NASA and the European Space Agency to further explore the possibility of human life on the Red Planet.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 30, 2020 06:18 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).