Why Perseverance might be the reason humans go to Mars

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Emily Djohan, Staff Writer

Since the beginning of time, humans have been fascinated by space exploration and what lies beyond our own planet.  Humanity has taken the next step towards investigating the unknown, which comes in the form of a rover called the Perseverance.  This rover traveled 293 million miles over the course of approximately seven months to reach its new home — Mars.

Perseverance (often referred to as “Percy” at the mission control center) successfully touched down on the red planet in a Jezero Crater location on Feb. 18, 2021, at 3:55 p.m. US Eastern time.  Landing on Mars is known to be a challenge; space engineers refer to

the time of descent and landing as the “seven minutes of terror.”  However, Percy’s terrain scanning system, seventy foot diameter parachute, and heat shield all functioned as intended, allowing for a graceful touchdown.

“I’m safe on Mars.  Perseverance will get you anywhere,” tweeted NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover Twitter account, as soon as the rover successfully landed.

Perseverance’s new cameras captured pictures of the landing process as well as its initial contact on the surface of Mars.  Percy is set to explore the Jezero Crater first because scientists have reason to believe this area was once flooded and was a river delta over 3.5 billion years ago.

Perseverance will continue to look for signs of ancient life and study the

geology of Mars.  It will collect and store several dozen samples of Mars material,

making it to our planet as soon as 2031.  Perseverance carries an instrument called the MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment), which will generate oxygen in the carbon dioxide-dominated environment to look for the potential for humanity living on the red planet.

“I think it’s pretty cool to have a rover on a different planet just to see if there are any similarities to the one that we live on and also if it’s capable of having people live there,” said

junior Ally Currier.

Perseverance isn’t the only piece of history-making technology to land on Mars.  It has another friend on Mars with it called Ingenuity.  Ingenuity is a small helicopter that is stored in the belly of Perseverance.  Ingenuity has its own place in history as the first rotorcraft to fly in a place other than earth.  Its mission is to fly throughout the Martian air and locate potential sites for future Mars missions.

Now that Perseverance has managed to land on Mars, the possibilities are endless.  It

seems that humankind has managed to take another step forward in its journey to understanding the vastness of space.

“I think that the Perseverance rover marks a turning point in space exploration.  This mission embodies the spirit of curiosity that every human being has,” said junior Amanda Cotumaccio.