The area of Mars where the Perseverance rover will land Thursday. Photo Courtesy NASA
The Perseverance rover is slated to land today in the 28-mile wide Jezero Crater on Mars, just north of the Martian Equator. The landing area is believed to have high potential for finding signs of past microbial life. Scientists believe that 3-4 billion years ago, a river in the area flowed into a large body of water leaving sediment containing carbonite minerals and clay which could have collected and preserved signs of microbial life.
Samples which will be collected on the ancient lakebed will be used to answer the question that has been asked for many centuries, “Are we alone in the universe,” and decades of work by scientists from around the world have led to today’s landing.
NASA has listed the following Perseverance Landing Day milestones:
Step 1 | Cruise Stage Separation
Step 2 | Atmospheric Entry
Step 3 | Peak Heating
Step 4 | Peak Deceleration
Step 5 | Parachute Deployment
Step 6 | Heat Shield Separation
Step 7 | Radar Lock
Step 8 | Terrain Relative Navigation Solution
Step 9 | Backshell Separation
Step 10 | Powered Descent
Step 11 | Rover Separation/Sky Crane
Step 12 | Touchdown!