NASA's Perseverance rover launches in one month

Here's what you need to know

Originally Published: 

Mars’s next robotic inhabitant is 1 month away from launch.

NASA’s Perseverance rover is slated to launch in mid-July 2020, and would land on the Red Planet in February 2021.

Perseverance will land in Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient

river delta.

Perseverance’s mission builds on its cousin orbiters, landers and rovers.

Which for decades have been uncovering evidence that Mars was once a warm, watery, potentially habitable world.

NASA’s older rover, Curiosity, has found evidence for an ancient habitable environment. Perseverance will hunt for evidence of ancient life itself.

Perseverance will collect samples of Mars rocks and leave them in caches for future robotic (or crewed) missions to pick up.

Its instruments will be able to scan for organic molecules, fine-scale mineralogy, and even image geologic structures underneath the surface.

The rover will also carry a 4-pound helicopter to test a new type of exploration capability.

Perseverance's MOXIE instrument will produce oxygen from the carbon dioxide in Mars’s atmosphere.

Generating enough oxygen is key to someday sending humans to Mars.

Read more Perseverance coverage here.

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