NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover on Mars on Thursday, confirming that Perseverance touched down safely on the red planet’s surface after its six-month voyage from Earth.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory mission control said at 3:55 p.m. ET: “Touchdown confirmed. Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the sands of past life.” Perseverance is 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 is the most technologically advanced robot NASA has ever sent to Mars; it is equipped with a drill, a 7-foot-long robotic arm and seven different science instruments. Perseverance is also carrying a small helicopter named Ingenuity, which NASA plans to use to attempt the first flight on another planet.