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The Perseverance Rover Landing: February 18, 2021

Perseverance will touch down on Mars on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at approximately 12:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. EST).

Landing on Mars is Hard
During landing, the rover plunges through the thin Martian atmosphere, with the heat shield first, at a speed of over 12,000 mph (about 20,000 kph). A parachute and powered descent slow the rover down to about 2 mph (three-fourths of a meter per second). A large sky crane then lowers the rover on three bridle cords to land softly on six wheels. Read all about the rover’s harrowing entry, descent and landing.

Watch Online
View Launch Video
#CountDownToMars

Landing at Jezero Crater

The rover’s new home is Jezero Crater, a large impact crater about 28 miles wide (45 kilometers wide) just north of the Martian equator. Jezero once contained a lake, which scientists think is one of the most ideal places to find evidence of ancient microbial life.

If life exists anywhere else in our solar system, chances are, it might be at Jezero Crater. The main question Perseverance is trying to answer is: Was there ever ancient life on Mars?

Get Details on the Landing Site

Take a Virtual Journey with Perseverance!

The Perseverance Rover will launch between July 30 and Aug. 15, 2020 and head to Jezero Crater, where it will land at the foot of a river delta which was clearly a lake at the time microbial life was flourishing on Earth.

On June 30th, the American Museum of Natural History’s Director of Astrovisualization, Carter Emmart, led the public on an exploration of this exciting landing site as we flew over it using OpenSpace, NASA-supported software. We saw why Jezero Crater was chosen and the features it has to offer for this latest in NASA’s series of Mars rovers to investigate past conditions which could have supported life.

This live OpenSpace webcast was brought to you by the STAR Library Network’s NASA@ My Library program in partnership with the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the American Library Association, and the American Museum of Natural History.

Watch on YouTube
The Presenters
About the Scientists

Digital App: Fly to Mars

We can only send spacecraft to Mars every two years. Have you ever wondered why? This simple simulation lets you launch a spacecraft from Earth to Mars. All you have to do is decide when to launch and we take care of the amount and direction of thrust. Easy, right?

Available on smartphones and tablets!

Download the App
Play in Your Browser

NASA STEM @ Home Resources

Below we have assembled a collection of NASA STEM @ Home resources that are “ready to share” with patrons.

Grades K-4

Junior Ranger Spaceflight Explorer – Explorer’s Activity Guide
Forward to the Moon with Artemis Explorer Activities
Explore Mars Games on NASA Science

Grades 5-8

Make a Cardboard Rover
DSN Uplink-Downlink: A DSN Game
Make a Paper Mars Helicopter

Grades 9-12

#AskNASA How Can I Be An Astronaut?
Take a Virtual Trip to Study the Rock of Earth and Mars
Help NASA Study Mars – Planet Four: Terrains

NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission

The Mars 2020 mission with its Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. The Mars 2020 mission addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration.

Main Objective: The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

View Mission Timeline
Learn About The Rover

Webinar Opportunity*

Take Your Patrons to Mars

NASA is about to launch the Mars 2020 mission – and now is the time to get your patrons excited! The Perseverance rover will launch between July 17-August 11, 2020, and will land on Mars in February 2021.

Invite your patrons to participate in its journey! Hear from NASA Mars scientists, learn some activities you can conduct online or in-person, and make plans to hold your own virtual (or in-person) launch or landing parties!

* Library staff only – not to be shared with patrons.

Watch the Recorded Webinar

The Detective Onboard

Mars is a long way from 221B Baker Street, but one of fiction’s best-known detectives will be represented on the Red Planet after NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down on Feb. 18, 2021.

An instrument called SHERLOC will, with the help of its partner WATSON, hunt for signs of ancient life by detecting organic molecules and minerals.

Learn More About Perservance

Additional Resources

Below we have assembled a collection of resources that are “ready to share” with patrons that your library can utilize.

Book List

Mission to Mars
How to be a Space Explorer
Can We Live on Mars?
The Mighty Mars Rovers
View Entire Book List

Videos

Countdown to Mars
NASA’s Mars Helipcopter
Making a Mars Rover
Testing the Rover
View More Videos

Multimedia

Perseverance Image
Rover Fact Sheet
Landing Technique
Overview Video
View All Multimedia

Webpages

NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission
Mars Exploration Program
Mars: The Red Planet
Mars Image Gallery
Google Mars