12 stunning images from past Mars missions

A look back on iconic Mars missions as NASA's Perseverance launches this week.

mars image
An artist’s rendering of Perseverance on MarsNASA

Nestled in the nose cone of the Atlas V rocket, NASA’s Perseverance will take to space this week. The newest Mars rover has roughly the same dimensions as Curiosity—somewhere between the size of a golf cart and a small Jeep, and it weighs 2,260 pounds.

Perseverance aims to land on February 18, 2021, in Mars’ Jezero Crater. The structure once held an ancient lake, making it a prime location to search for traces of life. If all goes to plan, the rover will spend at least two Earth years exploring the red planet, collecting data all the while.

With 23 cameras and seven scientific instruments, Perseverance will conduct science on Mars with unprecedented complexity. NASA technology has come a long way—as we look forward to what Perseverance might accomplish, let’s look back on what we’ve already achieved on Mars.