We are now 1 day away from NASA’s Perseverance Rover touching down on Mars, Perseverance’s journey started on July 30 at 4:50 a.m. PDT and has spent a long 7 months in space. The entry, descent, and landing, which is also known as the 7 minutes of terror are this rover’s first challenge before even setting its wheels on the most challenging terrain ever to be discovered. 

10 minutes before Perseverance enters Mars’ atmosphere the spacecraft, which had a role of supporting it, is removed allowing the Rover space to travel at 12-13 thousand miles per hour as it enters the Martian territory. However, at this speed, it is 100% certain that it will crash on touch down so friction with the atmosphere is used to slow it down. These last minutes are a changing factor for any rover, a parachute needs to open to slow down the descent, which in fact doesn’t slow it down enough, and then the retro rockets need to kick in “to bring the spacecraft down to zero velocity” and finally the rover lands on the terrain.

However, Perseverance has more up its sleeve, it is the first mission to use Terrain Relative Navigation, which is the process of taking pictures of Mars’ surface as it is descending using the parachute to determine which place is safer to land. Curiosity (Perseverance's older rover) had a similar landing however this new rover contains different instruments for its

“Studying Mars' Habitability, Seeking Signs of Past Microbial Life, Collecting Samples, and Preparing for Future Human Missions” NASA's mission statement. 

Perseverance soil and rock samples on the Jezero Crater which is believed to the best evidence of ancient microbial life is only the beginning to understanding Mars history and future for mankind. A future mission is in the works to collect these samples and bring Perseverance back to home turf.

Credits and Thanks to: 

7 Minutes to Mars: NASA's Perseverance Rover Attempts Most Dangerous Landing Yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4tdMR5HLtg

Find out more about Perseverance: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/spacecraft/rover/