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Major Mars update! NASA launched its Perseverance rover to the Red Planet this morning.
Though it launched today, Perseverance will not land on Mars until Feb. 18, 2021. The rover, which uses design elements from the successful 2012 Curiosity rover (but with a suite of new instruments!), will collect samples of the Martian soil and store them onboard.
Perseverance also features Ingenuity, a four-pound helicopter that will be the first vehicle to fly on another world.
The landing site for Perseverance will be at Jezero Crater, the site of what was once a Martian lake when the Red Planet had water on its surface billions of years ago. A river flowed into that lake in ancient times, making it an exciting site to explore rocks, minerals, and even hints of ancient life.
You can learn more about Mars and Perseverance in our Planetarium Online program, "All About Mars," which aired on Liberty Science Center's Facebook page on July 16, 2020: