BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — NASA’s Mars 2020 rover and its tiny helicopter have officially started their mission on the red planet.
Perseverance safely touched down on the Jezero Crater of Mars on Thursday afternoon.
Overnight, the rover sent new images from the Martian surface.
NASA officials are giving an update on the mission Friday afternoon.
Watch the update here:
Back in July, the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Now, the rover’s 300-million mile journey is almost complete.
The landing will be one of NASA’s most difficult landings to date. That is because the rover will be touching down in an area near Jezero Crater which scientists say is “the most challenging Martian terrain ever.”
The area, with its steep cliffs, sand dunes, and rocky terrain, will make for a difficult landing but scientists say it is these same features that hold the best chance at preserving evidence of life.
Jennifer Trosper, project manager with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says while the landing isn’t given, scientists have worked hard to make it as close to perfect as they can.
“No Mars landing is guaranteed, but we have been preparing a decade to put this rover’s wheels down on the surface of Mars and get to work,” Trosper said.
If all goes according to plan, Perseverance will touch down at around 3:55 p.m.
Once on the surface, one of Perseverance’s first tasks will be to begin taking pictures and transmit them back to Earth.
This will be NASA’s fifth rover to land on the Red Planet.
Watch Channel 9 and WFTV.com for coverage of the landing as it happens.