Nestled in the nose cone of the Atlas V rocket, NASA’s Perseverance took to space last summer, and this week it successfully touched down on the Red Planet. The newest Mars rover has roughly the same dimensions as Curiosity—somewhere between the size of a golf cart and a small Jeep, and weighs 2,260 pounds.
On February 18, Perseverance landed 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 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 since we first landed on the planet in 1976—as we look forward to what Perseverance might accomplish, let’s look back on what we’ve already achieved on Mars.
Hannah Seo is a science contributor at Popular Science. She started as an intern in 2020 and has since regularly contributed to both Popular Science’s website and quarterly magazine. Hannah’s reporting has covered everything from COVID-19 to rare archeological finds, and they’re always down to talk about quirky marine creatures or the mysteries of neuropsychology.