Nasa to host Perseverance rover news conference
Members of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) team that put a rover on Mars on Thursday are preparing to host a news conference and answer questions about the mission.
The rover, called Perseverance or Percy for short, is on Mars to search for signs of ancient life and collect samples to be returned by a future mission. About the size of a car, the wheeled rover is equipped with cameras, microphones, drills and even a small helicopter.
Guardian science correspondent Natalie Grover reports of Percy’s mission:
Previous Mars missions including Curiosity and Opportunity have suggested Mars was once a wet planet with an environment likely to have been supportive of life billions of years ago. Astrobiologists hope this latest mission can offer some evidence to prove whether that was the case.
The Nasa scientists appear to feel they may be tantalizingly close to a discovery that could change the way we see the universe and our home in it. Here was the scene in the control room near Los Angeles just before 1pm local time on Thursday when Percy’s safe touchdown on Mars was confirmed:
The robotic vehicle sailed through space for nearly seven months, covering 293m miles (472m km) before piercing the Martian atmosphere at 12,000mph (19,000km/h) to begin its approach to touchdown on the planet’s surface.
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