NASA’s Mars rover touches down on the red planet

NASA kicked off a new era of Mars exploration Thursday with the successful landing of Perseverance, a car-size robotic explorer that will search for traces of ancient life on the planet and collect what could be the first rocky samples from Mars that are sent back to Earth.

The rover touched down at around 3:55 p.m. ET, after executing a daring and dramatic landing that had been nicknamed the “seven minutes of terror.” Perseverance is now NASA’s fifth rover to land on Mars and is set to begin a two-year mission to roam its surface and search for signs of ancient microbial life.

It is also the latest of three new missions that arrived at the red planet in February. Earlier this month, two other spacecraft launched by the United Arab Emirates and China reached Mars and moved into orbit around the planet.

The much-anticipated Perseverance mission could answer key questions about Mars’ history and evolution, but it’s also a crucial stepping stone toward NASA’s goal of sending humans to explore the red planet.

Source:https://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/nasas-mars-rover-perseverance-touches-red-planet-rcna295

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